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Two Nations, Indivisible

November 28, 2012

Maybe it is 1860 all over again. Within days after President Obama’s re-election, disgruntled red-state Republicans (and even some terminally alienated blue-state GOP diehards) were petitioning their states to secede from the Union.

Granted, these latter-day rebels were scanty in number and could easily be dismissed as cranks. Secession has been a touchy issue on these shores since the previous Civil War, and our federal government doesn’t exactly help grease the wheels of state secessionist movements.

What made the secession threat intriguing was the accommodating response from so many denizens of the left and near-left: Let them go, and good riddance!

I’d read these mini-diatribes against Red America — that primitive and alien land of old-time religion, gun worship, antipathy toward gays and blacks and foreigners, anti-science obstinacy, substandard grammar and misplaced apostrophes, environmental brutality, cheerleaders with big hair, and on and on. We’re two separate and irreconcilable cultures, proclaimed the blue-state hipsters with their radio dials perpetually tuned to NPR’s squeaky-voiced Ira Glass and whatever obscure music combo happened to be looking edgy at the moment. And it wasn’t just the hipsters: several of my more mature, tax-paying, solid-citizen liberal friends were feeling the same urge to jettison the hicks and get on with life.

As I compared the beefy, godfearing, trailer-dwelling Bubbas with the ironic, compulsively slim, chef-worshipping bicoastal urbanites, I began to wonder if Lincoln made a mistake by attempting to lasso the Confederate states back into the Union. All those hundreds of thousands of  gallant young warriors cut down in their prime — for what?

In 2012 the United States seems to consist of two peoples inhabiting opposite sides of a deep gorge. The bridges are down, and

These finches evolved into separate species because they became isolated on separate islands. Is this the future of America?

the two cultures are evolving  away from each other. Eventually, like Darwin’s finches on their isolated islands, they could emerge as separate species. Maybe we needed to go our separate ways after all.

Then I came to my senses. First we had to consider the thorny logistics of dismantling the republic. What if a hipster magnet like Austin wanted to secede from Texas? What if the hillbilly stronghold of central Pennsylvania decided to go rogue and cut the cord from Philadelphia and Pittsburgh? We’d make the pre-Bismarck patchwork of petty German kingdoms and duchies look like a unified empire by comparison. 

More important by far, we needed to think about the shared qualities that brought us together in the first place — aside from our boiling resentment of the taxes imposed by good old King George III. Surely a people that collectively loves pizza, movies and beer can join forces once again for the common good.

But even there, chances are that the blue-staters would prefer white pizza with artisanal goat-cheese topping, small independent films and microbrew beer, preferably from Belgium. The red-staters would gladly take pepperoni, blockbusters and Budweiser. Is there any hope?

What made us — all of us — a unique people known to the world as Americans? Was it our willingness to abandon ancestral roots for the chance to start a fresh life? Our bold spirit of pioneering, discovery and enterprise? Our national preoccupation with success? Our ability to welcome and assimilate newcomers from a hundred nations? Our admirable balance between rugged individualism and community spirit? Our willingness to help our neighbors — even if they lived halfway around the world? Our good-natured, down-to-earth irreverence in the face of airy pretentiousness (a trait embodied by native American philosophers like Mark Twain and Will Rogers)?

I’d vote an emphatic “Yes!” to all of the above. So what happened?

First, the ’60s happened. Traditional values came under assault by scruffy young radicals, and the traditionalists rebounded by digging in and rebelling against the rebels. Soon enough it turned into a shouting contest: Rush Limbaugh bellowing against the mushy entitlement state… liberals heaping infamy on the banksters… Bush Derangement Syndrome followed swiftly by Obama Derangement Syndrome… Republicans refusing to cooperate with Democrats… red-staters and blue-staters morphing into grotesque self-caricatures… Twitter mavens tweeting to their own amen corners… contentious opinions swirling in cyberspace, growing more and more distorted and snarky and intolerant of dissent… age-old friendships ending abruptly with a flurry of political and cultural fisticuffs.

It doesn’t look promising at the moment. A grueling, open-ended recession (no apparent light visible yet at the end of this tunnel) has frayed our national nerves, fueled hostility and exacerbated our differences. The haves are pulling blithely away from the have-nots, and (most alarmingly) the middle class is joining the underclass in an unhappy and unexpected alliance of the downtrodden. Upward mobility is virtually dead unless you’re already up (with a little effort, members of the elite can grow still eliter).

We begin to look more and more like a Latin American republic, even without considering the vast numbers of unassimilated Spanish speakers in our midst: a small, self-entitled upper crust and a vast peasantry, separate and unequal.

But this is the United States of America, you insist. We have our pride. Our history and our legacy are at stake. What can we do to rouse ourselves, reunite ourselves, restore a sense of common purpose?

I have an answer (not the answer, because nothing is that simple these days. But any answer is better than none). And my answer is simply this: stop thinking in terms of “us” and “them.” See individuals. Individuals who are just as proud, ornery, flawed, confused, scared and magnificent as we are. Like all living organisms, they simply want to survive, thrive and pass the baton to the next generation.

If we want a baton to pass along, we’ll have to stop hunkering down in our ideological bunkers. We need to step outside, breathe some fresh air and wave to our neighbors on the other side of the chasm. Then we need to repair the bridges that broke down over the past few decades. We don’t want to evolve into two separate and incompatible species, do we? After all, we’re not finches… we’re Americans.

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360 Comments leave one →
  1. Ron P permalink
    November 28, 2012 1:34 pm

    “(But any answer is better than none). And my answer is simply this: stop thinking in terms of “us” and “them.” ”

    We might start at the top where a campaign was just completed dividing the country between the rich and others. Maybe leadership that unites and not divides would begin to start the healing process.

  2. lovetheocean permalink
    November 28, 2012 3:05 pm

    Rick, you’d make an excellent social director on a ship, cheer-leading every ambulatory person into a game of volleyball. As far as THEM and US, in this country…no time soon will we feel any of that “we’re all flawed, confused, scared” empathy for each other. A real lot of US don’t like THEM. We shut our mouths when we have to…in places where we work with THEM or have Thanksgiving with THEM. But WE don’t like THEM. Some of US have utter contempt for THEM, especially after some of the things THEY have said on FB, etc. After the election, I changed a lot of FB “friends” to “acquaintances” because I don’t want to hear, in my FB feed, what’s going on in their lives. Most belong to a group of long standing (family or high school friends) so it wasn’t appropriate to “unfriend” them. But, now, post-election, I want to go back into some kind of denial and pretend that THEY don’t really exist and that they certainly aren’t in MY family. Of course, the truth sometimes nudges its way into my brain and says they DO exist, and then I wonder how my dear aunts and uncles could have grandchildren and great-grandchildren like that. Probably the one thing WE and THEY agree on is the way we feel about each other.

    I have to say that, right after the election, it felt good to daydream about what a nation comprised of just US would be like. For years, when Red folks really pissed me off, I’d go read the “Case for Blue-State Secession,” which has floated around the Internet for years. The earliest version I read referred to the Bush era, but it’s possible there were even earlier versions. The latest version embraces Elizabeth Warren and Andrew Cuomo (I suspect the original came out of the West Coast; the updated version, out of the East Coast). Reading the “Case for Blue-State Secession” made me proud to be a Blue Stater, though I recognize there are a lot of Red people in my state…in fact, I now live among a bunch of them. I’ve always lived among upper-middle-class Republicans (not because I particularly like them, but because those towns were safer with better-performing schools…money does help achieve those things). This, however, is the first time I’ve lived among middle-class Red folks who, in my town at least, are driven a great deal by an extreme form of Christianity. And, really, when talking about THEM vs. US, whatever side you fall on, you must recognize the religious divide that has opened in this country. That’s particularly apropos to think about now since Christmas is coming up. I have become so shocked over the contentiousness that has arisen over Christmas in the last few years that, last year, I suggested that all secular “Christians” stop celebrating Christmas and give Christmas back to the Christians. I heard no complaints from the Christians, but I got labeled “too PC” and was dismissed by at least some secular “Christians.” Of course, if the secular “Christians” really did start ignoring Christmas, I suspect the Christians would be up-in-arms about being ignored. Well, that’s a whole other discussion, but suffice it to say that the animosity between the Bible-thumpers and the non-Christians and “milder” Christians is pretty intense, and it plays a real role in the Red/Blue, Us/Them antipathy.

    Fact is, we all live here in the currently drawn states of America and will have to muddle through together. I very rarely get a lump in my throat when the flag passes by, like I did when I was younger. When, rarely, I now get a patriotic throat lump, I quickly remember that this isn’t the America of my childhood, where all we Americans, many of us believed, could live in harmony because we were about the same fundamental values and dreams. Maybe I…we…were deluding ourselves then. Maybe there was a Red/Blue chasm all along and only now, with the fringe folk bellowing loudly on all the new channels of communication we have, is it so unmistakably apparent.

    And, btw, I realize that, despite the fact I proposed a lovely new United Blue States of America, running from Virginia counterclockwise around the edge of America all the way to New Mexico (with roads built around the Red States up by ND and around AZ, on easements through Canada and MX), I know that a divided America wouldn’t hold up much better than the current “unified” America is holding up. Red and blue divisions would arise within them, just as they have in America. Problems would grow. The divide is too big to pretend it doesn’t exist, and it will grow bigger as wealth and social disparity grow bigger. Fact is, there’s no real solution. We’ll all just muddle through, on a trajectory towards greater separation. Only time will tell what will happen then.

    • November 30, 2012 9:32 am

      Where is Ian;

      The left wingnuts seem to have come out at TNM in force. Even Rick has divided the nation into US and THEM..

      Post after post informs me that belief in god is equivalent to intolerance, homophobia, racism, ….

      One of the reasons that TNM is NOT moderate is because it is so intolerant and so ignorant of those with different views.

      Regardless of the results one of the most offensive parts of this past election season is that the Democrats, the president, and the media successfully painted half the nations as uncaring, women hating, gay bashing, bible thumping, racists.

      Pres. Obama was re-elected by successfully inspiring half the nation to hate the rest.
      And having succeeded in fostering hate, the left seems to believe they have accomplished a great victory.

      What I like least about TNM is that it is complicit in this.
      Occasionally Rick notes error on the part of the left, but reactions to those on the right here are visceral. The debate over Grover Norquist is not about the merits of his views but over how evil he is.

      The arguments are thick with hypocracy. It is laudable for any group to hold a politician to a promise that is deemed progressive, but fiscal responsibility is pure evil.

      There is nothing wrong with Sorros, OWS, or Unions, but the Koch’s, Tea Party, are all vile knuckle draggers.

      False empathy is a virtue, actually making the world better for all of us a crime.

      My argument that the only way forward is to give progressives exactly what they want and then hold them accountable is now being made by an increasing number of conservatives.

      There are two ways to learn – from study of facts and data, or from experience.

      Experience is another name for learning from failure.

      I honestly hope more fervently than after the 2008 election that everything that I believe is true proves to be false. That progressives are about to demonstrate the wondrous success of their ideology, unfortunately history, logic and reason tell me otherwise. That we will reap what we sow.

      Atleast catastrophic failure sooner will be better than later.

  3. Rob Anderson permalink
    November 28, 2012 4:32 pm

    lovetheocean has hit the nail smack on the head. Here, on the Central Coast of California, I’ve seen first-hand the way in which religion is the centerpiece of too many people’s lives, and how that affects whole communities. And you must realize that in the Bible Belt this area would be considered *liberal*. I shudder to think what it is like to be an agnostic leftist in, say, Alabama or Mississippi. My own experience and observation is that, even amongst “New Wave” Christians who genuinely try and live their faith and beliefs, there is an appalling amount of hypocrisy, not to mention retrograde attitudes about sex and gender. It all becomes very tiresome, very quickly.

    And the idea that “the 60s” got us here is just patent nonsense, received wisdom of the worst sort. What got us here is 40 years of economic contraction from wealth polarization. As more and more people found themselves without economic security, they turned to religion for succor. It has ever been thus. Give the people enough bread, and they will forget their God (or gods). The United States is not immune to this, as we have seen. Some argue that the abortion issue is what led to the rise of the religious right, but Roe v. Wade was a marginal topic for most people, until, of course, the economy started going south in ’73 and more and more people began returning to their churches, whereupon they were evangelized about guess what? The rest, as they say, is recent history.

    Economic dislocation and mass religiosity must both end before our nation can heal itself. And the former really must come before the latter. It’s the only way.

    • lovetheocean permalink
      November 28, 2012 9:15 pm

      Alabama and Mississippi make me shutter, too. The Christian Left gives me some hope. But, frankly, I don’t hold out a lot of hope for America. I believe the wealth disparity will only grow bigger. Yesterday, I read about an undocumented worker who was deported back to MX. He now makes $1.75/hour working for an American company there. There’s no way for American workers to compete with such wages. This country would have to take a stand to protect its middle class against low outside wages, and it will never do that. Walmart workers tried to protest outside some Walmart stores on Black Friday. Shoppers ignored them. For Americans, it’s all about “what’s in it for me?” They really don’t care about the plight of others. That is why this country’s heyday is done. It’s ironic that, as third-world countries are getting richer and spreading the wealth a bit more, the USofA is letting its economic chasm grow. But, maybe that’s some kind of natural equilibrium at work in the world. Sure doesn’t bode well for America.

      • lovetheocean permalink
        November 28, 2012 9:16 pm

        ..shudder…

      • Ron P permalink
        November 29, 2012 12:48 am

        In addition to American companies with divisions in Mexico taking jobs out of the states, GM is now investing $1B in China on a new factory. What better way to us taxpayer (bailout) funds to create competitive jobs?

  4. November 28, 2012 6:46 pm

    Very nice job, Rick, your best ever, especially when you lay out Ira Glass, annoying twit. Two quick comments:

    1-Send your piece to Obama and tell the A**hole to read it. He is the most divisive POTUS in my lifetime by far. The election was a disgraceful display of just what you are arguing against.

    2-Our founding fathers knew all about this when they set up the place. If the Federal government were not so damn intrusive and seeking to tell the states what they can and cannot do, we would have less tension and more cohesion. The state system is set up to allow folks to congregate along whatever lines they like. I would argue that what you are seeing is in fact, just that.

    If the greenies want to congregate in the Northwest and set up communes, is not issue to me as I simply won’t move there. If I find Texas to be the bomb, I will move there. The only time this becomes tense is when these factions are told what to do by a third party.

    This is a BIG country and there ought to be plenty of room for divergent points of view. Let’s let each other be for a change, and that goes triple for those dopes in Wash DC

    • lovetheocean permalink
      November 28, 2012 8:44 pm

      Surely, if you are so pro states’ rights, you’ll have no objection to every state starting to get back, in federal spending, what it puts in, in taxes…no less, no more. We Blue States are sick of subsidizing the Red States and then having them cry that everyone should pull themselves up by their bootstraps and make a go of it on their own.

      • November 28, 2012 9:19 pm

        Your comments are as divisive as it gets–exactly the opposite of what Rick suggests we do in his latest missive. Also, what makes you think the blue states subsidize the red states?

      • Anonymous permalink
        November 28, 2012 10:08 pm

        LTO,.are you saying that people in blue states pay more in federal taxes? How do you figure that? And how exactly do they subsidize the red states?

      • lovetheocean permalink
        November 28, 2012 10:12 pm

        Have you ever seen a chart?? I’ll send Rick one (a few years old, but it makes the point) and ask him if he can post it in the comments. Me…divisive…your point? I think that Rick can be naive and that, if you don’t describe things as they really are, there’s no chance for a solution or a reconciliation.

      • lovetheocean permalink
        November 28, 2012 10:14 pm

        @ Anonymous…if Rick can’t post the chart I send him, I’ll try to find one online and post the link.

      • lovetheocean permalink
        November 28, 2012 10:24 pm

        Let me see if this works: http://www.addictinginfo.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Chart-of-Red-State-Socialism.jpg

      • November 28, 2012 10:29 pm

        Sorry, LTO, it’s me, not “Anonymous” I must’ve gotten logged out of WordPress.

        Nevertheless, I would really like to see the chart that you are referring to, because I can’t figure out how I would pay less federal income tax if, for example, I lived in Mississippi instead of my own blue state of NJ. I know that I probably pay more taxes overall, because NJ residents pay state income tax, property tax, and sales tax…but none of that goes to subsidize any red states.

        We may be talking about different things, but I am curious to know what this chart indicates.

      • Ron P permalink
        November 29, 2012 12:46 am

        Does the amount sent back to the blue states include all federal moneys sent to the states or just trust funds like gas taxes, etc. I find it hard to believe that New York and California do not receive al least what they pay in taxes when entitlement programs for the poor like Medicaid is included.

      • November 29, 2012 3:31 pm

        LTO;

        Everybody wants to claim they subsidize everybody else.
        The fact is more than half of us – regardless of the color of our state get more than we pay.

        Beyond that who subsidizes who depends on how you frame the questions.

        Until more recently the “wealthy” have tended to live in blue states, the northeast and california. But that is changing pretty fast.
        Since the rich are paying the lions share of the taxes wherever they live appears to be subsidizing everyone else.

        The red states have historicially had a significantly lower standard of living. That means they have more people who qualify for medicare, and government benefits.

        Taxes are significantly higher in blue states than red states – and state and local taxes are deductable from federal taxes – an enormous subsidy to blue states. The tax rates in many blue states would be unsustainable if they were not essentially transfers from the federal government.

        Though that is changing to, unemployment is significantly higher in the blue states than the red states, Over the past decade the red states have been growing faster than the blue states. This recession has been harder on blue states than red states. Populations are growing faster in red states than blue states. There are far more immigrants in red states than blue states.

        I do not think anyone is truly serious about session. But I do think that the petitions and talk are an important message that needs to be taken note of. Those states that today are doing the best, that are growing and thriving, are also very unhappy with the status quo. in the long run that is untenable.

        If as you claim the blue states are net subsidizing the red states, that the economics and demographics suggest that will shift soon.
        That shift will present an enormous political problem.

        I would also note based on Rick’s map – there are almost no actual blue states. What there are is blue cities.
        We are devloving into city dwellers versus the rest of us – and BTW the cities ARE net subsidized by the rest of us. We can build a super highway all the way across almost any state cheaper than a few miles of highway in Boston or New York.

        There is this claim that demographics is destiny and the GOP is doomed. But people are leaving blue states for red, leaving cities for the country and suburbs, Those growing minorities that the GOP can not reach live primarily in red states. Further they are being asymilated into the melting pot (and asymilating other minorities with them) Is a third generation hispanic Latino or white ? The irish and italians were once reliable democratic interest groups. Now Irish american or italian american has no meaning politically beyond WHITE.
        What are the children of a hispanic/asian couple or a hispanic/greek or ….

        Starting near the middle class and moving up regardless of ethnicity voters are reliably republican. So long as prosperity continues the demographics favor the GOP. There is a real problem caused by the Bush/Obama depression, but prior to that we had 30 years of nearly continuous growth. All this class warfare, hate the rich, and income inequality crap fell on deaf ears for 3 decades, and it will again.

        Republicans are lousy at getting their message across. Just read TNM the so called moderates are all convinced that republicans are all Racist bible thumping, ant-gay, anti-women, KKK, members – which is pretty much not true. The right is more engaged religiously than the left – by less than 10%, but for most issues both parties are divided. The plurality
        may flip between those on the left and those on the right, but very few issue divide by parties AND have greater than a 10% difference between the parties. That should make moderates happy – if they ever could grasp that most on the right have only small differences with them.

        But republicans are better at succeeding both as individuals and in governments. State governments are slowly shifting red. The GOP owns the house for the forseable futures, it also owns, 60% of governerships, and 60% of state senates and 60% of state houses and these numbers are growing. Further these states and state governments are generally doing better than the blue ones.

      • November 29, 2012 3:33 pm

        LTO;

        I suspect you would find that those red states would be perfectly happy to pay no federal taxes in return for receiving no federal funds.

      • Ron P permalink
        November 29, 2012 5:40 pm

        Lovetheocean..One should be careful when stating red and blue states taking and giving on the tax issue. Yes some states may get more back than what they take in. And some may pay more than what they receive back.

        However, one must alse look at the states and the impact the federal government has on that state. How much land in Virginia is owned by the federal government for government buildings and military basis. How does tha impact the tax base in that state? How much land is owned in Montana for national parks? How does that impact the tax base and how does that impact optaining natural resources that could be mined or extracted if the government did not own that land? What impact does the federal government have on the Alaska economy by restricting drilling and a large percentage of the Alaskan territory?

        I don’t think one can just make a blanket comment about red states taking more in than paying in until the complete impact of the federal government on that state is considered.

      • December 3, 2012 11:01 pm

        LTO;

        I have a very strong suspicion that your data on the purported transfer from blue to red states is seriously flawed.

        Among other issues – Blue states have substantially higher state an local tax rates, which are deductible from federal taxes – alone this is a huge transfer from red to blue states.

        Blue states have both the largest blocks of benefits seekers and the largest benefit formulas.

        That leaves you left with making up the difference in social security and medicare – and the left keeps telling us those are “earned” rather than transfers.

        The other alternative is military spending – With a few exceptions that is greatest in red states, but then again the red states also provide by far the greatest contribution of blood to our national defense.

        So where is it that you think this blue to red transfer of money is ocurring ?

        And in the hypothetical world where all the blue states secede, it seems that the blue states end up owning the red more than the other way arround.

      • December 5, 2012 9:19 am

        Back to the original question, I would be fine about eliminating any interstate transfer of tax monies. The whole idea of cross subsidization is nonsense of the highest order.

      • Swami permalink
        December 20, 2012 11:44 pm

        The obvious questions:
        1) Isn’t the idea that wealth should be redistributed the core of liberal politics? If Blue states are richer and you are liberal does it not logically follow that the money would flow to red states?
        2) Have you at all considered that red states are larger states, and much of our money is spent on infrastructure, which is driven by area rather than population? In other words, can you connect LA to NY with a highway, and not spend most of the money in “red” areas?
        3) If every state should get back exactly what it puts in, why bother with a federal government? If New Jersey is going to spend X Billion and get X Billion, why funnel it through a bureaucracy which will deduct processing fees?
        4) And by extension, if there is something wrong with getting back less than you are giving… why stop at states? Why should the wealthier counties subsidize the poorer ones? Municipalities? We can go all the way down to…

        Why should a wealthier individual be forced to subsidize a poorer one?

        And poof, a liberal has morphed into an Ayn Rand Anarcho-capitalist.

        The political spectrum is more of a circle than a line!

      • Ron P permalink
        December 21, 2012 12:24 am

        Swami, you left out one other issue that may have some impact on what red states get. How much land is contorlled by the federal government in red states compared to blue states. Federal control of land prohibits tax revenues, mineral rights fees and other state revenues from flowing to the state. One can find that Alaska receives more than it pays and then find that the feds control most of the land mass in Alaska.

  5. lovetheocean permalink
    November 28, 2012 11:04 pm

    Pearows…use the link I posted in the comment just above yours. And, to anyone who is interested…we liberals are the good guys. Have we Blue States ever balked at giving more than our fair share? No. And, more locally, have we liberals ever voted a school budget down? No. Think about it, conservatives complain about money that goes to educate in the inner city, But, they have families with 3, 4, 5 kids. I know because I live in a conservative community where SUVs pass me all the time….with the little cartoon figures of Mom, Dad, 3, 4, or 5 kids, and usually a cat and/or dog. I’ve NEVER once balked at our society paying $12,000/year (or whatever the average is) per kid for education. Think about that…many conservative famillies take up to $60,000/year in education, sometimes more, when for many years I had no kid being educated…and eventually, just one kid. Did I ever, for a minute, balk? No…because I believe that educating all kids helps our society. But, not so with conservatives…they are so quick to take their $60,000/year to educate their kids and then complain when taxes pay to educate inner-city kids. I call that gall. Liberals are the good guys.

    • November 28, 2012 11:36 pm

      LTO…got the link. I will give a look and try to figure out what it means.

      I know that most liberals are good guys. Most conservatives are good guys too. And most moderates. “Different strokes for different folks…and so on and so on and scooby dooby do be do be..” (sorry, my 60’s thing got the best of me!)

      We all want the best for ourselves, our families, our country.

      I want the best for my kids….that doesn’t mean I want other kids to suffer.

      Don’t buy into this red state/blue state BS. We are all better than that.

      .

    • Rob Anderson permalink
      November 28, 2012 11:36 pm

      Point well taken.

    • lovetheocean permalink
      November 28, 2012 11:43 pm

      Well, kids, I’ve got to pack…am out of here at 7 a.m. Probably won’t have time for the Internet for a couple days. I will, no doubt, miss scintillating discussion.

    • Ron P permalink
      November 29, 2012 1:02 am

      Could it be that those SUV’s with 3-4 kids are heading to a private school because the 12K is being wasted on cruddy public education.

      And one might bring up the subject of unwed mothers on welfare with 4-5 kids living in low income housing using the same amount of tax moneys to educate(?) her kids.

      Each one of us has our own idea about what has caused the problems we have in America today. We see that same thing going on in washington today leading our country into an economic disaster that will end up much like Greece in 20-25 years.

      What we need is people to stop sniping at others positions and begin to accept that everyone will have to give in on tax increases and drastic cuts to entitlements so those kids you see going to school will be able to live a life somewhere near the same economic stability that we have been able to live for the past 50 years.

      • November 29, 2012 1:43 pm

        Lancaster Menonite High School – one of the best high schools in my county, costs 30% less per student than every public high school in the county. Further it is more racially and culturally diverse. But for transportation my kids would go there – and I am not menonite.

    • November 29, 2012 1:58 pm

      Lovetheocean;

      Sorry you liberals think you are the good guys. For the most part you are truly ignorant of the lives of everyone else. Further you are ignorant of the carnage your policies have caused among those you claim to want to help.

      I personally spend a great deal of time outside my world. My children are both minorities, many of their friends are. Many of my friends are. Many of them are poor working class. I spend time working with immigrants, and at homeless shelters.

      The less fortunate want respect and a hand up, not a hand out from someone they never see.

      If you do nto want those SUV driving conservatives to get 60,000 a year in government paid education – get government our of education.

      As to balking at paying your taxes – sorry, there is no merit associated with paying taxes. If you balk you go to jail – and so do conservatives who you force to pay for your failed wet dreams.

      Again – there is absolutely zero moral merit to doing or paying for some good, if you are forced to do so. You are not doing gods work by paying your taxes, you are avoiding jail.
      If you want some merit – then pay more than you have too, or give to charity.

      i live in a pretty conservative area – the expectation here is that those evil conservatives you rant about are morally expected to give atleast 10% of their income to charity.
      Few actually do, but the norm is that conservatives spend more than twice as much as liberals on charity.

      If there is a god and judgement is based on feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, … then liberals are headed for damnation.

  6. lovetheocean permalink
    November 29, 2012 1:30 am

    @ Ron P…The middle-class kids like the ones in my current town don’t go to private school, and only a few go to parochial school. Not many of the kids in the upper-middle-class communities I’ve lived in went to private or parochial school. My kid did go to private school for one year, so I know how very few kids from middle-class and upper-middle-class communities actually go to private school. We took our kid out of private school after one year because we felt he would get a better education in a good public district. Don’t paint all districts with the same brush. Btw, the conservatives do bring up the welfare kids. That’s my point…they think it’s perfectly fine for society to pay to educate 5 of theirs but not to educate 5 disadvantaged kids. It would be nice if those in Washington could work together, but I really don’t see it happening in any meaningful way any time soon.

    • November 29, 2012 10:00 am

      LTO, I think that the conclusion you draw here is entirely off-base. I pay taxes in my town, the vast majority of which go to funding the school system, which provides public education for both the well-off and disadvantaged kids. It so happens that I live in an extremely diverse town, both racially and socioeconomically, so there are a large number of kids from all groups. The school system is decent…it used to be excellent, but it is not as good as I think it should be for what we all pay. (Based on the little pamphlet I get with my tax bill, it costs about $10,500 p/student p/yr, and my property taxes are almost &15K…less than what Springsteen pays on his mansion in NJ, btw, since he has it classified as farmland)

      I blame the declining quality of the schools mostly on the powerful teachers’ union, which protects a lot of crappy teachers while insisting that they get 10% raises, cadillac healthcare plans and fully funded pensions whether or not they actually do their jobs. And also on federal mandates, such as NCLB, which force the schools to spend enormous amounts of money on testing and programs that virtually everyone agrees has not improved education at all.

      The urban district schools in NJ, where most welfare kids live, are far worse….and FAR more expensive. And, for sure, anyone who lives in a city and can afford private school – or home schooling – does so. But, they still pay for the public schools – not to keep the disadvantaged kids in them, but because, well, you gotta pay your taxes, even if the schools suck.

      I actually think that the failure of our public education system is an issue on which many liberals and conservatives agree, Where the disagreement arises is on the question of whether or not more public funding will solve the problems….

      • November 29, 2012 10:01 am

        *that should have been “more than what Springsteen pays”

      • Ron P permalink
        November 29, 2012 12:31 pm

        pearows..I offer one additional reason for our poor education system in many parts of the country.

        “CAN’T”

        You might be able to get a group of liberals and conservatives in a room and they most likely will agree that there is a problem.

        But then get one side to offer a solution to test in one or two schools and the other side will say, “That can’t be done” or “We can’t do that”.

        Let one side say “Lets increase the use of technology, spend more on computers and software and the response is “We can’t do that, teachers can’t teach kids using technology, they need to tell children and demonstrate like they have for two centuries.”

        Ocasionally we will see where schools have broken the mold and become a leader. We have seen where the urban area inner city kids flock to magnet schools that use innovative techniques that prove the underpriviliaged kids can learn when given a chance, but few other schools systems are willing to venture far from the 19th and 20th century teaching methods.

        And the same holds true for the debt and deficit reductions. We can’t raise taxes and we can’t cut spending.

        .

    • Ron P permalink
      November 29, 2012 12:08 pm

      @LTO..We do agree that the prospect of something happening in Washington is bleak. The best I can see coming is the Republicans give on taxes, we will have about 80 billion coming into the treasury more than we have today and they will accept a “promise” that cuts (reduced increases in future year expenses) will take place in government spending. We already heard Reids position that the Democrats gave $1B in cuts already and they “needed credit” for that.

      None of this will solve any of our problems. We will still have those that think the rich can pay more. We will still have those that think 47% of Americans take advantage of the system. We will still have a bloated government that spends too much money and too many unproductive programs. And we will still have people from all economic and social classes “attacking” each others views led by the elected officials in Washington.

      • November 29, 2012 12:58 pm

        Until sequestration actually takes place the $1T in cuts that Reid wants credit for has not happened. Still Democrats are entitled to some credit. That said, we are more than $1T further in debt than we were when all that was accomplished. Over the next decade we must cut $10T just to prevent things from getting worse.

        According to whitehouse figures the expiration of ALL the Bush tax cuts would produce $325B/year in additional revenue. Of that less than $50B comes from the “tax cuts for the rich”, and there is credible evicence from the whitehouses own CEA christine Romer than the $50B figure is extremely optomistic. Regardless it is less than 1/3 of what Pres. Obama wants from the rich over the next decade. And Romer’s data sugests that taking 1.6T from the rich in taxes will reduce the economy by 3.2T – that is 3.2T worth of jobs, and wealth. That is a 3.2T lower standard of living.

        And even if that were not true, it is about 15% of what is necessary.

      • Ron P permalink
        November 29, 2012 5:18 pm

        asmith. We all may not be able to agree on a specific numbers as everyone has his own number in Washington. “Figures don’t lie, but liars can figure.”

        But what most all of us can agree on is the fact that.a country that continues to far outspends its income will eventually be unable to pay off its debt and not be able to borrow any more money. When that happens, the country has an economy like one of the PIIGS in Europe.

        If it happens in 10 years, 20 years or whatever, it will eventually happen and right now there does not seem to be anyone in Washington willing to put their career on the line and make the hard decisions necessary to stop the trend we are in. When you have Bowles and Simpson in Washington pleading for a compormise and no one is listening, you know you have incompetent leadership at all levels running this country.

    • November 29, 2012 1:25 pm

      Of course all districts are not the same.
      But the (inflation adjusted) cost of a public education has far more than doubled, the student to teacher ratio has been halved, and the quality has declined slightly.
      Some of the worst school districts in the nation are also the most expensive.

      The typical private school costs significantly less – many much less than 1/2 what public schools cost, yet they outperform public schools. They do so whether they are expensive afluent schools, poor parachiol schools, right wing bible schools, or poor private schools focusing on minorities.

      Money, resources, more teachers have all been tried and failed.

      My kids are Cyber-chartered. Which is technically a privately run public school at 2/3 the price. They are well educated, more importantly each is getting the specific education that they need, not the one size fits all education of traditional public schools. Cyber charters are not perfect and if I could afford to i would go elsewhere. Nor is the technology the key feature. Technology makes it possible for my kids to be educated from home. But the improvement in quality over traditional public schools arises not from the technology, but from the fact that the cyber-charter is answerable to me. If I am unhappy I can return my kids to public school, or move to a different charter school. The fact that I have already left traditional public schools makes it clear to the for profit company running the cyber charter that I will leave if they do not make me – the parent happy.

      Further 60% of the students in my kids cyber charter are minorities from really bad inner city school districts. These are the children of single parents, from broken homes, of parents with a very poor education. Who have grasped that the only chance their children have of doing better than they have is with a better education than they can get at their local public school

      • Ron P permalink
        November 29, 2012 5:27 pm

        The fact that your district or state has made the choice to allow charter schools and those have different methods of teaching shows there are some areas in the country willing to step out of the box.

        Where so much of the problem lies in those areas that do not welcome change. Your Cyber school is one alternative. It may not fit all the kids needs. There are schools using technology n the classroom where much of the learning is done on computers with the teachers monitoring kids progress. Those needing help are flagged and the teacher can reach out to those specific needs. Other kids help those that need help. In those schools the classroom size may be double the current standard methods of teaching room, but the kids far outperform those in traditional teaching method rooms. These schools meet the needs of todays students, they try new methods, scrape the ones that don’t work and build on the ones that do.

        It still goes back to the word “can’t”. Or in the words of teacher unions “won’t”.

      • December 3, 2012 11:23 pm

        Ron P;

        I am NOT trying to sell Cyber charters as the be all and end all. Or even the best choice for everyone.

        My point is one size does not fit all ever anywhere in anything – much less education. It is one of the reasons government fails – because the entire principle of statism is that as small number of elites can figure out the one size that fits us all best. That is inherent to progresivism.

        Nor am I inherently opposed to Unions – though I want a true “level playing field” – that is best accomplished by removing government from the process in all ways – aside from preventing the parties from engaging in violence.

        But public unions are a problem. There is a structural imbalance in the interests of the parties negotiating. Far too many politicians are far to beholding to public employee unions to negotiate with them, and even those not receiving union support are not spending their own money, and subject to far too imbalanced a set of presures.

        LTO is actually bragging that liberals have consistently supported wasting more and more money on public education – as if that is a good thing ?

        There is no correlation between public spending and results. Not in education, not in much of anything else. Absent all the rest of the constraints that exist in the free market (and often even with them) throwing money at a problem rarely improves anything.

    • November 29, 2012 1:40 pm

      lovetheocean;

      Please cite

      “the conservatives do bring up the welfare kids. That’s my point…they think it’s perfectly fine for society to pay to educate 5 of theirs but not to educate 5 disadvantaged kids.”

      All of us want the best affordable education for our own children.
      Inner city liberals notoriously migrate to the suburbs once they have kids, rather than put them in poor city schools.
      But I have never heard anyone conservative or liberal say that poor kids, welfare kids, …. should not get a good education.

      One of the big agenda items for many conservatives for decades has been vouchers.
      That is a government guarantee that any child regardless of advantages can attend the school of their choice. In the few places that conservatives have been able to implement any kind of voucher system it has been exclusively for poor and minority students.
      Increasingly some of the biggest proponents of the purported conservative education agenda are minority parents. Black parents have waited for decades for the left’s promised improvements to their education. They are increasingly tired of false promises.

      The right has delivered on its promises to minority students – cyber charters, charters, lotteries and voucher programs offer a small number of poor minority children some hope for a better future
      The left has delivered nothing.

      One more time, if the results of your purported good intentions harm those you intended to help, and you continue to advocate for more of the same, then the moral failure rests with you.

      Even if you believe the ends justify the means, bad ends never justify bad means.

      Poor children would be better off with the total disinterest you claim that conservatives offer, than the destructive attention they receive from the left.

  7. Ron P permalink
    November 29, 2012 12:12 pm

    Rick what is your source for the red and blue coloring for the map of the US? Is this the final count for the presidential election for 2012?

  8. November 29, 2012 12:46 pm

    This nation is the most diverse in the world. Only England comes close.

    Our common heritage is our differences.
    It does not matter whether some of us prefer micro-brews and others Budweiser.
    What matters is that we are all free to choose.

    Our current fracture did not start in the sixties – it has been going strong since the 30’s, and started long before that.

    It started as we began to believe more in government than in ourselves.
    The purpose of government shifted from giving us opportunity to giving us things.

    “The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.” Alexis de Tocqueville

    We have become a nation of government dependents. almost 60% of us receive more direct benefits from government than we pay in taxes.

    Whatever the problem – our expectation is that government should solve it.
    Government is not up to nor designed for that task

    Contrary to the assertions of others here I do not believe that government is evil.
    But ships were not meant to travel highways, and they do not work well when they do.

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men”

    That is the essential american definition of government.

    Neither nature nor any creator entitled us to nor provides employment or a “living wage”, nor housing, medical care, education, or a pension. Government can not give us these without making us slaves.

    The responsibility for meeting our needs and wants is our own, so long as we choose to be free. The sole responsibility of government is to assure that our natural rights – the freedom that allows us to meet our needs and wants are protected.

    That is what government is designed to do. Even that it does poorly, it is a blunt instrument, despite that it is the only sucessful means that humans have managed to accomplish that in 150,000 years of existance. It is the worst possible solution – except all the rest.

  9. Joe Chambers permalink
    November 29, 2012 1:57 pm

    Very well said. I agree. My favorite line: “Red America – that primitive and alien land of old-time religion, gun worship, antipathy toward gays and blacks and foreigners, anti-science obstinacy, substandard grammar and misplaced apostrophes, environmental brutality, cheerleaders with big hair, and on and on.” Funny.

  10. November 30, 2012 12:29 am

    I think the fact that no more than 4 years ago I was a republican, and a very strident one at that, and have found myself to the left of the current president and the vast majority of congress should tell us something. It wasn’t democrats who motivated my shift, hell I still have very little feeling other than sheer contempt for them. However every since the tea party the conservatives have gone so hopelessly off the reservation that I simply can’t claim to be a moderate in this climate. To take a middle position between a far right, and a center right is to still further from center than I have ever been.

    I always have been and I always will be socially liberal. Likewise I will always trust the wisdom of science over the claims of clerics, politicians, and other demagogues, in regards to things like when practical life begins, when its desirable to end it, and in what way the environment is impacted by us, and what that is likely to do to us.

    As for foreign policy, again same as always, I want peace democracy freedom and a decent level of prosperity for as many people as possible, and I don’t care what country they happened to be born in, nor inhabit. You can call me unpatriotic but the deceleration said that all men are created equal, not all Americans. It was a revolutionary statement at the time and its still the most revolutionary idea on the plate. Marxism having been largely discredited in the course of the 20th century.

    My economic views have changed largely do to cognitive dissonance and experience, I am benefiting from policies enacted by the current administration. I have healthcare for another 3 years because Obama extended the length of time young adults like myself can stay on their parents plan. Which given the current economy is a necessity.

    I think the answer here is not to attempt to win over died in the wool arch conservatives but instead to reach out to the majority of people who never bother to vote, and who think politics don’t matter. I’m fairly certain if we dispense with the false equivalency and just make the case for ideas each of us believe to be solutions to the problems we face, then perhaps people will start demanding that they be adopted. Politicians are what they are because they do what they think people want them to do, and get it right often enough to stay in office. Whatever the government is, its the responsibility of every citizen for better or worse.

    I’m not sure whether it would be better to attempt to break the two party system, or simply attempt to hijack an existing party the way the tea party did, and the way occupy wallstreet tried to do. The former succeeded mostly because they had a lot of money, the latter was admirable but flawed. Whatever the path we take, we should take it and move quickly because I can’t see anything good coming from inaction at this stage.

    If there is one unifying principle of what America means, I think it would have to be liberty, the fundamental debate seems to be one between freedom of, and freedom from. However while conservatives believe only in freedom from, (as in freedom from government) it seems self evident to me that a life where one is subject to the whims of the market and the people with the most influence on it, is one of defacto servitude. Now as for freedom of, well all I can say is that we are never going to achieve absolute equality and on that basis I do not believe or accept true socialism as a goal. We should try to make things more equal, simply to avoid the instability that results from an overly stratified society, but I’d stop well short of sending the captains of industry to the national razor. And not just because the last person to attempt that kind of revolution ended up losing his head as well. I say rebuild the safety net, make it so there is a floor on how destitute you can become, the people who can will make it, the people who can’t at the very least won’t wander the streets. It will cost us, and I do believe the burden should be carried by those with more than they could ever need, but that is motivated by necessity, and would not require much of a sacrifice for them. Once that is done then consumption will go up, along with the moral of the country as a whole, and then we can go about the hard work of rebuilding.

    That is what I think anyway.

    • Ron P permalink
      November 30, 2012 12:32 pm

      Giuliano..You state:”I’m not sure whether it would be better to attempt to break the two party system, or simply attempt to hijack an existing party the way the tea party did, and the way occupy wall street tried to do. The former succeeded mostly because they had a lot of money,”

      I offer another reason the tea party was able to do what it has done. You also state ” I am benefiting from policies enacted by the current administration. I have healthcare for another 3 years because Obama extended the length of time young adults like myself can stay on their parents plan”.

      Maybe the Tea Party wing has taken over the republican party since your healthcare is being paid for by cuts to Medicare. The healthcare legislation that allowed you to stay on your parents plan cuts over 700 billion from Medicare for seniors. In addition, Geithner offered yesterday to cut another 400 billion from Medicare as part of the debt negotiations, but due to the PPACA increasing costs, I offer that this additional 400 billion is also paying for increased costs for PPACA healthcare.

      Nothing is free in this country. When one party receives something, another party is paying for that free stuff.

      How the seniors have not recognized what is happening is beyond me. When they carry signs saying “don’t touch my Medicare” when Ryan comes to town, why isn’t that same demonstration taking place when Obama comes to town.

      So when you go to the doctor, remember granny is paying for that service since granny’s healthcare is being cut with actions by the current administration. Anyone who thinks 700 billion plus 400 billion will not have a negative impact with a growing subscriber base does not have all the facts.

      So once again we see the division in the country. This time it is pitting the young against the old.

      • wilma permalink
        November 30, 2012 2:10 pm

        “So once again we see the division in the country. This time it is pitting the young against the old.”

        Which you are doing, BTW, brilliantly.

        Face, it, none of us are very good at being objective and non partisan. Find a cure for that and you will have earned a Noble prize in both the “Economics” and Peace categories.

      • Ron P permalink
        November 30, 2012 2:23 pm

        Could be I am being divisive, or it could be I am pointing out facts that show how leadership in Washington has led to the divisiveness. Guiliano believes he has received a benefit which he has. He did not comment on how that benefit impacted others. That is what different groups in Washington want. They want individuals to believe things come without a price, which they do not. For every action, there is a reaction. In this case, a shift in healthcare dollars.

        If decisions were made in Washington with everyone in mind, then maybe most everyone would know what the impact was on “US” and not just “ME”.

      • wilma permalink
        November 30, 2012 2:43 pm

        What I wish more than anything would be that there was a decent-sized chunk of the commentariat who were objective and play it down the middle instead of feeding partisans with red meat analysis.

        David Broder Died and he was it.

        Perhaps I exaggerate but not much.

        Many people do not want to read commentary that does not come to a black and white conclusion and blame the villain they want blamed.

        It would take me a day of searching and thinking to believe that I had even a basic idea of how that 700 billion truly will impact seniors and whether it was taken from them or is an effort to reform the system that will provide benefits in a more general way to society.

        Your point is well taken that money has to come from somewhere to pay from anything, but economics are not a zero sum game, most especially the economics of future health care cost projections. Its a massive challenge to have a rational understanding of even the basics, and our partisan press sell ads and dissension, not understanding.

        AARP has the time and resources and follow what affects seniors and their opinion is to me at least a first approximation of reality on this issue.

      • Ron P permalink
        November 30, 2012 7:29 pm

        I know from experience that when money is taken out of healthcare from one source, it comes out of the pocket of another. Doctors require a spcefic revenue source to pay for ofice expenses, salaries and their own living expenses. Hospitals require a specific amount of revenue to pay for salaries, supplies and excess revenues to fund the purchase of new equipment.

        So when 700 billion comes out of the system for Medicare, 700 billion is being paid by someone else to make up that loss. Medicare keeps talking about the waste and fraud in the system, but I do not hear or see much about many companies that are hired getting rich off recoveries from fraud identification. What is claimed to be fraud in many cases is billing errors due to the massive billing regulations. When billing reviews are made, the errors going both ways have to be taken into account and in many cases there could be 6 digit amounts found that are errors, but the net difference is close to -0-.

        As for AARP, each individual will have to make up their own mind about AARP being an advocate for the seniors.

      • December 3, 2012 11:34 pm

        Wilma;

        There is no good reason to believe AARP is more honestly knowledgeable on issues of the elderly or healthcare than that Phillip Morris is on Tobacco.

        Absolutely we all see data through the lens of our own beliefs.
        A recent study on climate science found that well educated scientifically literate liberals tend to believe more strongly in AGW, while conservatives with the exact same educational background are far more skeptical.

        There are specific conditions under which economics is not zero sum – these conditions are almost exclusively those of the free market.

        In all non-free market conditions economics tends to be negative sum.
        Aside from myriads of studies – try history. True free markets are a modern invention – preceding the industrial age and directly coinciding with the tremondous non-zero sum modern era that is a tiny blip in human existance. For most of 150,000 years “economics” has essentially been zero sum – or worse.

    • November 30, 2012 3:42 pm

      Guiliano;

      There is no difference between freedom of and freedom from.

      Freedom, liberty is man’s natural state. The social contract is the sacrifice of a portion of that freedom in return for the protection of government. more government is by definition less freedom.

      Equality and freedom are not synonymous. We are not all equal, we will not and can not be. Even if possible it would be a bad idea. A thriving world depends on our differences. It needs engineers and artists. The only equality we need or want is equal treatment under the law.

      There is no such thing as “true socialism”. There is just more or less and we are headed strongly in the direction of more. And more means less freedom.

      You are happy that PPACA allows you to remain on your parents healthcare another 3 years. Are your parents going to be happy with the 51% increase in health insurance costs for young adults that are starting to roll in ?

      Anyone can measure the efficacy of a program such as PPACA by looking solely at its clear intended effects. Economics is the science/art of being able to grasp the effect of the unintended consequences. Socialism works – meaning that it is possible using the power of government to deliver many goods and services of value. But ultimately it is a poor choice when all the unintended consequences are measured PPACA was supposed to be free, Then it was supposed to be $1T/decade, now the estimates are $1.6T/decade and rising and that is in-addition to stealing funds from Medicare.

      Left alone free markets provide what most of us want at the least possible cost. Nothing else comes close. Further the more interconnected the world gets the better the marketplace is able to provide at low cost these needs and wants that only a few people have.

      Whatever government provides someone must pay for.

      At the moment we are all tangled in a great debate over whether the top 2% who already pay over 40% of all income taxes, should pay more.

      But the entire debate is misguided. Like it or not businesses, investors, …. do not pay taxes – they pass them on or they cease investing and any actually good economist will confirm that.

      For decades it has been nearly impossible to get anyone to listen to arguments that Social Security and Medicare were Ponzi schemes. Slowly today more and more people are starting to grasp that. Current estimates of the shortfall are 50-100T dollars. Absent radical tax increases and or dramatic cuts in benefits that money does not exist. government

      Every government policy benefits someone. Just because a government action is good for someone does not make it good overall. Some people – possibly you will benefit from PPACA atleast for a little.

  11. November 30, 2012 11:03 am

    Giuliano, I wish that most young people were like you – not because I agree with your political views, because obviously we disagree, but you clearly have thought through and established an intellectual framework for your positions, as opposed to just accepting the prevailing liberal worldview. On the other hand, I’m curious about a couple of the things on which you base your contempt of the right, but the main one is this: you state that the safety net should be “rebuilt,” providing a floor for how destitute people can become. While that is exactly what a safety net should do, I wonder how you have come to the conclusion that Republicans are against that? It is one thing for the government to do everything in its power to prevent homelessness, starvation, end-stage unemployment, etc…..it is quite another to expect the government to provide a common standard of living for everyone, especially if that standard is significantly above what could be considered a poverty level.

    So, for example, if the government says that everyone should have the right to own their own home, even if they do not earn enough money to qualify for a standard mortgage, is that a safety net or is that forcing equality of outcome over equality of opportunity? In my view, subsidizing housing for those who would otherwise be homeless is a safety net; guaranteeing single family home ownership is social engineering.

    Does that view make me contemptible? Possibly – yet, my biggest concern is that, as Rick says, we have all become so polarized, so conditioned to a hair-trigger rage response to every opposing idea, that creating real solutions have become impossible.

    • November 30, 2012 4:05 pm

      Pearows;

      you make an excellent point.

      What does it mean to be living in poverty in the “US” ? What does it mean to be “poor” ?

      If we are going to have a safety net, who is it supposed to benefit

      People living below the poverty level today have more than the middle class did 40 years ago. More(most) of them own cars, more(most) have air conditioning, More (most) have Televisions – often several. They live in larger apartments or homes. They had better phone service, many have computers, their food costs half as much and is better.

      There is plenty of government data documenting the fact that those in the lowest quintile have about twice the wealth the same group did 30 years ago, that they have more wealth than the middle class did 30 years ago.

      None of us wish to see someone else starve or homeless, but we are not talking about helping people who are starving or homeless – or even close to that.

      We are talking about helping people who would have been called middle class 30-40 years ago.

  12. wilma permalink
    November 30, 2012 2:01 pm

    From the Palm Beach Post on Aug 19. Facts still as appropriate today. There is no stealing from grandma.

    This column is about a Big Lie in the 2012 elections. It isn’t about which party might be right on Medicare. It’s about a Big Lie on Medicare.
    The Big Lie is that the federal health care law — the “Affordable Care Act” to Democrats, “Obamacare” to Republicans — cuts $716 billion from those on Medicare. More pointedly, it “robs” $716 billion from Medicare to pay for “Obamacare.” Big Lies on Medicare have come from Democrats. Indeed, PolitiFact’s Lie of the Year for 2011 was the Democrats’ claim that Republicans “voted to end Medicare” by supporting the budget presented by a congressman named Paul Ryan. You may have heard of him in the last week.
    This Big Lie, though, already is the centerpiece of the GOP campaign, especially in Florida. U.S. Rep. Connie Mack, R-Cape Coral, will run against Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., in a race that could determine control of the chamber. Last week, after winning his primary, Rep Mack accused Sen. Nelson and President Obama of “trying to destroy Medicare” by cutting “$700 billion” from the program. Rep. Mack also claimed that Sen. Nelson cast “the deciding vote” on “Obamacare” in March 2010. In fact, the bill passed the Senate 56-43.
    But back to the Big Lie. The Washington Post helpfully broke it down last week by citing John McDonough, author of Inside National Health Reform. Mr. McDonough was an aide to the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, whose absence from the 2010 debate over the law cost Congress a lawmaker who for 40 years had worked on health reform with politicians from both parties.
    The Big Lie began with a letter to House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, from the Congressional Budget Office. Repealing the health care law, the CBO said, would increase Medicare spending by $716 billion over the next decade. From that comes the Big Lie that the health care law cuts, steals, strong-arms $716 billion from seniors.
    As Mr. McDonough explains, roughly 30 percent of that $716 billion comes from cuts to private insurers that offer Medicare Advantage plans. The 2003 Medicare prescription drug bill — Rep. Ryan voted for it — came stuffed with subsidies to insurance companies, on the theory that private companies would compete and offer better plans than traditional Medicare. Instead, as every objective study has shown, Medicare Advantage costs more than traditional Medicare. The public subsidizes free eyeglasses and health club memberships. That is what old-time Republicans would call waste.
    About another 35 percent of that $716 billion comes from lower reimbursements to hospitals. They agreed to that provision in the law because they expect to get more paying patients. How? The hated mandate, which requires everyone to have health insurance or pay a fine. Again, there are no cuts to those on Medicare. The last 35 percent comes from trims in roughly a dozen areas of the program.
    If this election really were about the nation’s financial future, Republicans and Democrats would be competing to see who could cut Medicare more. Every long-range federal budget forecast identifies Medicare as the biggest problem. The program doesn’t pay for itself now, when there are 3.5 workers paying into the system. In 20 years, when the last of the Baby Boomers turn 65 and Medicare rolls swell, estimates are that 2.3 workers will be paying in for every retiree.
    By comparison, Social Security is an easy fix. Congress could raise the retirement age, reduce benefits to higher-income recipients, increase the payroll tax and/or raise the amount of income on which the payroll tax applies. Medicare is much harder. You can’t predict how much health care people will need. Throw in Medicaid. Many people may think that the federal-state health program for the poor mostly helps the young. In fact, two-thirds of Medicaid spending goes to people 65 and over, much of that for nursing home care.
    According to a story last week in The New York Times, only 3 percent to 5 percent of eligible voters remain undecided. It will not seem that way in Florida for the next three-plus months, as the parties swarm around the Medicare issue like spring-breakers around a keg. It will be interesting to see how Rep. Mack defends his vote in 2011 for the same Medicare cuts — as part of Rep. Ryan’s House Republican budget — that he now blasts Sen. Nelson for supporting. It will be interesting to ask Democrats how they can blast Rep. Mack for a vote that “guts” Medicare when the same reductions are in the health care law. It will be interesting to ask Rep. Ryan why he would repeal the health care law, since doing so would made Medicare insolvent sooner, according to the program’s trustees.
    The parties are right about one thing: Medicare should be a focal point of this campaign. A Big Lie is that either party will tell the whole truth.

    • Ron P permalink
      November 30, 2012 2:12 pm

      Wilma (you know who), yes it is all a big lie. And that is why we have the government today that will not do the right thing, what is best for the country and what is best for this generation and generations to come. They will only do what is best for their careers. And we Americans buy into the _____!.

    • November 30, 2012 4:15 pm

      Wilma;

      You do realize that what you wrote actually proves that the supposed big lie is the truth.

      You are playing games with numbers.

      If I come to you and say you must cut your household budget but 7,000/year. But that this will not effect you. That spending for heat and electricity are going to be reduced by 35% – but somehow magically your home will stay just as warm and you will have just as much electricity – are you going to by it ?

      The Big Lie is that it is possible for government price controls to cut costs without cutting services.

      Regardless, we are all going to live the consequences of PPACA. One of two things must happen – costs will be far higher than anticipated or services will be cut. My bet is on the former, as I do nto think there has every been a government program that has cost less than 3 times what it was projected to.

  13. wilma permalink
    November 30, 2012 2:06 pm

    How does AARP feel abut this alleged robbery from seniors? They support it. Go figure.

    Really this is a complex issue that can be seen from a number of angles, including ideological and party ones. Calling it a robbery is making it black and white, which it isn’t. This is the conservative/GOP angle, pure and simple.

    ( I gotta be Wilma for a post or two to make my dedicated e-mail system work to get the comments.) You Know Who.

    • November 30, 2012 4:26 pm

      I do not think much of this is all that complex.

      Price controls do not work.

      Pretty simple.

      What is complex is the games that are being played to mask the fact that PPACA is premised on the claim that this time they will.

      It is entirely possible that PPACA will survive and thrive.
      Many people will benefit, some greatly, but the net losses will outweigh the gains, but the losses will be diffuse and the gains concentrated and obvious.
      This is the norm with all idiotic government programs.

  14. November 30, 2012 3:47 pm

    As far as AARP is concerned, the organization will make a killing on the cuts to Medicare, because, as one of the largest private Medigap insurers, the AARP very aggressively lobbied to keep Medigap reforms out of Obamacare. Kaiser Family Foundation estimated that those Medigap reforms, originally part of the ACA plan would have saved seniors about $400+ in premiums a year, but would have slashed AARP’s profits by $1B. (I know you’ll ask for a link, Ian so here ya go http://www.kff.org/medicare/upload/8208.pdf ) AARP masquerades as a non-partisan organization, but it is a big political player….

    So, yeah, there are a few “Big Lies” out there…and they cut both ways. It’s a big lie that raising taxes on the rich will cut the deficit. It’s a big lie that we can continue to spend and borrow and not go bankrupt. It’s a big lie that everything is the Democrats fault, and it’s a big lie that everything is the Republicans fault.

    I agree that we will probably have to learn all of this the hard way…..

    • November 30, 2012 4:20 pm

      Big spenders are present in both parties. Despite current claims to fiscal responsibility the GOP is only not spendthrift by comparison.

      It is a lie to blame everything on democrats or republicans – but it is not a lie to blame this mess on those who believe we can spend profligately without consequence.

  15. wilma permalink
    November 30, 2012 4:56 pm

    Yeah, That dog does hunt, at least a bit. I will admit the AARP has made it easy to question their objectivity by having a for profit subsidiary that sells the AARP name to insurers. I am not an AARP member although they have been soliciting me for years. I have always thought they have a funny smell, more of a marketing organization with a clever spin.

    Nevertheless they are the best known lobbying group for seniors and appearances of conflict aside, I am not persuaded that they are actually going off in the opposite direction from what is good for seniors.

    My original point is that the situation with that 700 billion is so complex that I do not have the time to truly sort it out beyond reading a few articles that are not clean of partisan spin. So, I take some short cuts, one is to note that the AARP generally supports what this administration is doing on health care.

    I think that taking a position that is blatantly against senior interests would cost them their entire gig, subsidiaries and all, which depend on their reputation.

    It would be better if Broder were alive and there were others in journalism like him, then I could consult them and leave the AARP out of it.

    • December 1, 2012 9:27 am

      Ian, I think one of the great political tragedies of our time is the near-death of real journalism. I’m not sure what has caused it, or whether it can come back, but, at this point, you can probably count on your two hands the number of journalists who see their role as reporting the facts, as opposed to influencing public opinion. Even an opinion journalist like Broder was more objective than many of the standard “beat reporters” today.

      I saw Bob Woodward interviewed the other day, and he was marveling at the relative dearth of interest in the real story behind Benghazi. Politics aside (Woodward does not believe that Benghazi is a Watergate-style cover-up, although he acknowledges that it could be) he was saying that, back in his hey day, he would have been ferreting out every possible angle on the story, in order to scoop the Post’s competition, make an name for himself, and possibly win a Pulitzer….but that today, most reporters seem content to simply parrot the talking points of both sides, pretty much ignoring whether or not the supporting facts are there. He was laughing abut the prevalence of dedicated “fact-checkers” in the media, and saying that he always thought that all reporters were fact-checkers….that that was kind of the whole point.

      • December 3, 2012 11:40 pm

        Benghazi more strongly resembles Iran Contra than Watergate.
        It is an instance of the government deliberately breaking the rules it set for itself, and hiding that fact.

        There is a Watergate like tie in to elections – The truth (whatever it is) about Benghazi had to be stiffled to win an election.

        But the primary story is that this administration screwed up and then covered it up. It is unimportant whether the Consulate was being used as a secret terrorist prison, or the administration just radically mis-read the tea leaves. The fact is it screwed up, and having done so tried to cover up whatever that screw up with a story that it knew was bogus.

        That is not watergate, but it is a story that deserves a deep airing that it is not really getting.

  16. wilma permalink
    December 1, 2012 2:26 pm

    When I was a child David Brinkley and Chet Huntley gave us the news in competition with 2 other networks. There were a handful of major papers that had weight.

    Now we are spread out one molecule thin, with thousands of tailored choices of where to get our news according to which of hundreds of subcultures we identify with. The thermal heat death (entropy) of the journalistic universe has occurred. In this case competition was a disaster for the product.

    So, of course journalism does not have the impact it did when everyone in America watched one of three networks.

    We pay attention to the news that is tailored for subcultures that are adversarial to our own only to laugh at them and as an example of how lucky we are not to have gone down the wrong path.

    Would you buy the idea of say, an new lurking environmental catastrophe from someone who believes that people have no right to use natural resources in the first place? Would I buy climate science from people who believe that God would not allow global warming? Would you buy commentary on W Bush’s wars from a left winger who wants the US to disarm completely? Would I buy the Benghazi story from a Rupert Murdoch outpost during a presidential campaign? Would I buy that we are in an economic collapse and must make drastic cuts in govt. from a person who just does not believe in government in the first place?

    Those are the kinds of sources we get to choose from and needless to say, they only have weight among their own true believers.

    • December 2, 2012 11:10 am

      Eh, I don’t know….I’m sure that every great investigative reporter has had his/her own personal biases and point of view…..the whole point of news journalism is to try and report events as truthfully, objectively and factually as possible, in spite of those biases.

      What we have today is a plethora of opinion journalists and very few news reporters. I can see from at least one of your examples, that you believe the Benghazi story to be a politically motivated one….and, no doubt, both sides have politicized it. But, the thing is, there IS a story there, one that has not been objectively reported. When Obama held his press conference after the election, there was only one question asked on Benghazi, despite the fact that confusion and controversy have surrounded the facts of the story. And of course, the reporter who asked that one question was Ed Henry from Fox News….so, he was instantly discounted as a “biased reporter.” Maybe he is, maybe not….but I would contend that NOT asking any questions about such a hot topic shows bias, as well.

      I tend to agree with Bob Woodward that this lack of curiosity is troubling in a free press. Even with dozens of information sources – hundreds, really – we have extremely few that see their role as providing full and complete reporting.

      • wilma permalink
        December 2, 2012 4:35 pm

        Priscilla, along with being obstinate and obsessive I am also willing to admit to being quite redundant, so redundant that I would think my comments are utterly predictable on the Benghazi part of this. I hope there is a solid and thorough investigation of the events prior to and during the attack, in order to learn how to improve protection of embassies in hostile areas. But the events after the attack are simply partisan politics, my need to know something or do something about that does not make it to # 10,000 on my to-do list. And things that do not make the top 50 on that list may as well be at infinity, because I do not have time for them.

        We do agree about journalism in general. The same thing has happened to pop music by the way, it has splinted into a thousand specialized directions, none of which have any force at all compared to the impact of the music of my day (and I suspect, that was close to your day too). My oldies band plays 50s, 60s and 70s music and believe me, the young people in any audience love it, know and and dance like crazy to it, and some of that music is half a century old. Then came a musical desert as of the 80s on, history won’t remember 0.05% of that. Having a national or even international focus of attention on a relatively small number of choices leads to a much different impact factor, whether its news or music.

        Woodward was a household name at roughly the time Mick Jagger was a household name. I’m sure, being human, he misses his own heyday.

        Priscilla, to use a nice very polite Russian euphemism, it is possible that we are no longer completely young. Most of the stuff from our earlier years was much better than the drek our culture produces today, and that is an objective fact. The Beatles vs. Brittany Spears, Cronkite vs. Fox or Huffington, these are not competitions. Dan Rather has a lot to answer for but really it was technology that doomed journalism.

        The internet, a billion light years in diameter but so often one molecule deep or just wrong and maliciously wrong at that. (Except Wikipedia)

      • December 4, 2012 12:20 am

        Wilma;

        Wikipedia is absolutely fantastic – and totally corrupt. Exactly like every other source you need to weigh the evidence and examine it critically.

        There is a very interesting article someone one wikipedia’s entires on some famous bombing before all our lifetimes. A scholar triggered by a students questions actually went and read the trial transcripts of the incident and looked into the evidence – and found the story told for decades and scrupulously adhered to in wikipedia was completely false – so he corrected it. Only to have his corrections removed. Wikipedia’s rules favor the published works of scholars over primary sources – essentially as far as wikipedia is concerned our best source of understanding of what occured in a trial is not the trial itself but what experts wrote about that trial. Eventually the professor in question was able to get a countervaling view expressed as a minority view – but he had to write a book and then cite to his book to do so.

        Regardless, journalism is not doomed, only changed. All you are discovering is that it is a market like everything else, and what some want to buy in that market is not what you like.

        Entertainment daily is not my idea of news – but it is someones, and so long as they attract a lucrative audience I am pissing into the wind trying to suppress them.

        That is the whole point of markets – they provide what we need and want – whatever that is. They cater to every interest of sufficient scale to be profitable – and as the world grows and becomes more interconnected that is pretty much every interest.

        With few choices we bought Cronkite and Brinkley. With myriads we can all find what we want.

        i believe the broadcast media has failed us in this election, and there will be a price to pay. But the price is not government regulation, but market regulation, and if i am wrong and they really gave people what they wanted – so be it. That is what a free market means – no censorship, no political censorship, no economic censorship.

        It means the freedom to say anything or do anything non-violent.
        It produces some results that are pretty repugnant to many of us – but absent violence we must tolerate that, in return it produces far more of all the best than any other system ever created.

        You lament the absence of Rather, I celebrate Yglesias, Greenwald, Balko, Beaudreaux, Malkin, ….. The innumerable intelligent voices that never would have had any chance to be heard in any prior era.

        I do not always agree with these, some I almost never agree with, but the world would be worse without them.

        You can keep your Cronkite/huntley Brinkley world, i want 10,000 voices to be heard.

    • December 3, 2012 11:52 pm

      Wilma;

      This is just nuts. Actually read about the journalists your great heydey. Modern biographies of Cronkite are pretty damning,

      We have more voices now and that is good. But far too much influence still remains in the broadcast media which smelled to high heaven in this latest election. In a contest between a Republican moderate and a mildly socialist democrat, the broadcast media painted the moderate as a right wing nut job and the socialist as a moderate.

      But i am not looking to change anything – atleast not through regulation. I think the broadcast media has embarrassed and harmed itself, and its days are numbered anyway.

      As to the loons in the alternate media you eschew – thank god they are there. Even the broadcast media gets much of its investigative journalism from those sources any more.
      I want more OKeefe’s – from the left, from the right moonbats if necescary.

      I do not care whether someone is a follower of Jim Jones – if their story holds up under scrutiny. The bonafides or lack of a source are good reason to dilligence, but whether the source is Chet Huntley or Paleo Blogger, the most important thing is not WHO they are but whether what they wrote holds up.

  17. Pat Riot permalink
    December 1, 2012 9:12 pm

    Yes, the current fragmentation of information sources…It’s good and it’s bad. Better than one centralized source, but more opportunity than ever for people to be divisive. Up to us to gather from multiple sources and use our brains to detect the bs, as best we can.

  18. Pat Riot permalink
    December 1, 2012 9:58 pm

    I’m considering joining “No Labels.org.” What do you folks think of nolabels.org?

  19. December 2, 2012 6:27 pm

    Wilma (or whatever you are calling yourself today): So, the uproar over what happened during and after Benghazi can be chalked up to so much uninteresting partisan politics. I’m sure you must feel the same way about Watergate, a piddling burglary attempt that led to the impeachment of a president. You go on to explain what is important to you–what is or is not in vogue in the music world. I guess that improves your “coolness” score with some, but does little to support your thesis that what may have been criminal mismanagement of a crisis by incompetent leaders is unimportant.

    • wilma permalink
      December 2, 2012 7:12 pm

      Your latest post is no improvement on your post election analysis that the idiot and slacker vote was what determined the election. A die hard conservative with a bad case of Obama disorder. Ouch! that must hurt.

      In any case, better reread my post and note your reading errors, since you got it flat wrong.

      Its the after part of Benghazi that is obviously political and not interesting to me and most Americans. The “Uproar” over the after part of Benghazi exists only in a part of the conservative universe, the same part that has Obama reality disorder and sees nearly everything Obama does as being illegitimate or even criminal. Yawn. The election is over, that behavior got what it deserved at the ballot box. But continue, please, that would be the intelligent thing to do, it may have a different result going forward.

      Steven’s family stated that making this into a partisan political issue would be a second tragedy. But, hey, you obviously know more then they do.

      • December 4, 2012 12:36 am

        The before part of Watergate was a run of the mill burglary – we have thousands everyday.

        It is the AFTER that is important in both instances.

        In both instances the president either deliberately LIED or was abysmally incompetent.

        That is not important to you ?

        But then neither you nor the press have shown any inclination to give the slightest damn about any of the malfeasance of this administration.

        BTW the malfeasance of our politicians is ALWAYS relevant – regardless of their party, regardless of who is in power, regardless of whether it is an election year.

        I feel sorry for Steven’s and his family, but their wishes have no bearing on this issue.

        Further Benghazi is not – or atleast should not be a partisan political issue.
        When ANY administration F%$K’s up and then publicly lies about it, the fact that one party will benefit from the story is irrelevant to whether the issue is important.

        But then the press is silent on Guantanamo, Fast and Furious, The massive deportations of immigrants, the massive arrests of Marijuana growers and users in states where it is legal, the endless war culture, …..

        Abuse of power is only outrageous if done by republicans.

  20. December 2, 2012 7:39 pm

    Wilma, etc.: your latest post was the standard combination of out of context quote, intentional misinterpretation of my position, and preening that has become predictable from you. Since you never say anything of substance, I should probably ignore your posts, but occasionally lashing out at your absurd posturing does scratch an itch. A critical analysis of the mistakes made by leadership during the Benghazi attack is overdue, and now that the election is over with, should not be dismissed as politically motivated.

    • wilma permalink
      December 2, 2012 7:58 pm

      Yada Yada, Nevertheless, inspection shows that ya still can’t read and yet found it convenient to blame the election results on idiots supporting the democrats.

      Here, I will be explicit. I said:

      I hope there is a solid and thorough investigation of the events prior to and during the attack, in order to learn how to improve protection of embassies in hostile areas.

      To which you replied

      So, the uproar over what happened during and after Benghazi can be chalked up to so much uninteresting partisan politics.

      Ergo, your reading skill are shaky.

      The position of Stevens family has substance, and great substance, just not in your wacked portion of the conservative universe.

      Now that the election is over, political motivations are as well? Really? You are killing me.

      • December 4, 2012 12:41 am

        In other words – it is irelevant whether our political leaders lie to us, so long as eventually we find out the truth ?

        With that as a standard – do you actually ever expect to find out the truth ?

        There MIGHT be some interesting stories concerning how Benghazi happened.

        But the most critical story is why did this administration tell a story the next day it knew or should have known was false, and why did it tell a story that it DID know was false for atleast two weeks after.

        Followed by the story of why some people can not grasp that it is always an important story when politicians lie.

  21. December 2, 2012 8:37 pm

    Wilma, etc: Trading pleasantries with you is unproductive. Every comment you disagree with is dismissed as “politically motivated”. Boring.

  22. December 3, 2012 10:08 am

    Ian, I liked your comparison of journalistic standards to musical ones ( I am after all, not so completely young), but I disagree that professional standards of nonpartisan objectivity are comparable to the envelope-pushing of substandard artistic endeavors. Nevertheless, you and Pat do make a good point about the overall polarizing effect of fragmentation on media, communication and art ( why do I feel as if that is the name of a college course?).

    I don’t buy the claims that journalists were ever perfect paragons of objectivity, but I do know that there were professional standards around sourcing and verification that prevented most reporters from simply becoming de facto press secretaries for their preferred side. And, although Bob Woodward’s hey day may be long gone, he recently published a book, “The Price of Politics,” which is an excellent example of how a true investigative journalist can dig out the facts, even when those facts don’t flatter his preferred politicians.

    Benghazi is an important news story that has been roundly ignored by the liberal press, which has dutifully reported that “there is nothing to see here, folks, just move along…” Whether the attack could have been prevented, whether lives could have been saved, what orders were given during the attack, whether there was a purposeful attempt to falsely blame the video, whether the CIA’s intelligence was flawed, etc. etc…….all of these things are important questions that every single professional reporter should have been asking since the beginning. But, not only do they not ask, they accuse any reporter who does ask of bias.

    I think it is pretty obvious that, if the current administration were Republican, this would be a front page scandal, hotly pursued by every newspaper and network. Certainly the Valerie Plame “scandal”( which turned out to be a nothingburger) got tons more coverage, due to the possibility that it might involve Karl Rove.

    Bottom line, if professional journalistic standards are going to be employed only when covering Republicans, then they are really not standards at all….and it’s not due to fragmentation of media but to the decline of those standards. (:: ducking, in anticipation of incoming fire::)

    • wilma permalink
      December 3, 2012 11:03 am

      I’m glad you liked my analogy. I could extend it to the death of classical music in the 20th century as composers like Bern, Webern, and Shoenberg took Stravinsky’s (and Debussy’s and Bartok’s) initial and usually musical moves towards atonalism to an extreme. Fashions continue until they need to find an extreme in order to be titillating and they they fade out and become nearly irrelevant.

      As to the liberal media, I will grant that there are liberal outposts in the media, the NYT is a sad example, but I think you are saying that the media itself is liberal. The best argument against that idea is that 25% of Americans are liberal. Commercially it would make no sense to make a product that is not what 75% of Americans want. And with plentiful competition, such an enterprise would be overturned and has been overturned already long ago..

      The idea that the liberal portion of the media somehow has the power to shut down the rest of the media and say move along, no that is an idea from the conservative side of the universe that only is appealing in that universe.

      I think that media numerically reflects the ideological composition of the USA, but all the energy is at the extremes and what is produced in the middle is something like USA today, pablum,

      I’ll be my redundant self and repeat that what happened to lead up to and cause the Benghazi tragedy needs to be investigated. By congress and the State Dept. most of all, as they are the ones with access to the information. That investigation would be for productive purposes. The one that has been brewing in the conservative side of the media smells utterly partisan to me. Mitt took it up in that vein and immediately wounded… himself, as he acknowledged. I see a tragedy here, I do not see a scandal.

      How many have died in Iraq and Afghanistan? Each of those deaths is a tragedy. When we bomb Afghan and wipe out dozens of innocents. Maybe each tragic death deserves an investigation by congress and the press.

      • wilma permalink
        December 3, 2012 11:37 am

        Er, When we bomb Afghan wedding parties and wipe out dozens of innocents that is also a tragedy.

        And I will try to dull my own partisan edge by noting that Obama was quite clumsy in his public response, there is no way he should have gone to Vegas for a campaign event, he should have stayed in D.C. and dealt with the press. That clumsyness was not a scandal and it would not have saved any lives, but it was important.

      • December 4, 2012 12:55 am

        Fax does quite well, as does the right on Talk radio.

        Free markets mean that there will be an outlet for everything.
        The fact that the media is a market does not prove that it would dies if it did not present the perfect centrist picture. Child porn sells – that certainly is not mainstream

        Commercially it makes perfect sense to tailor your product to a segment of the market. We do not all buy lincoln town cars, or ford focuses.

        If you are going to make market based arguments – atleast develop an understanding of how markets work.

        The entire point of free markets is that they DON’T deliver exactly the same thing to everyone. You can generally count on the fact that the more homogeneous a market or product is the more entrenched government is in that market – see healthcare, mortgages, …..

        Markets are not the best way to meet the 75% of the needs of 75% of the people, they are the only way to meet nearly all the needs of nearly everyone.

        I would note that NYT is failing, while Rupert Murdock – scandals and all is thriving.

        I beleive firmly in a free press, and in criticizing a free press, and in taking my business where-ever I want – which is neither MSNBC nor FOX though the later is less skewed than the former – oh and appears to have ratings equal to the rest of the market combined – sugesting by your own logic that 50% of us hold views strongly resembling FOX

  23. December 3, 2012 12:23 pm

    You make a couple of good points here….I agree that the liberal media is unable to shut down dissenting media, even if they want to, which, I don’t believe is what they necessarily want. What I see is the attempt to marginalize news outlets that do not fall in line with the mainstream narrative. So, Fox News becomes “Faux News,” and the very fact that Fox pursues the Benghazi story is framed as evidence that the story is “merely political.” On the other hand, the fact that the National Enquirer had to break the John Edwards love child story, despite the fact that virtually every reporter covering the Edwards campaign knew about it, is presented as merely a case of the legitimate press not involving itself in tawdry gossip.

    I do wonder why there are not more centrist and right leaning outlets, particularly since Fox has dominated cable news ratings for years now, and, as you say, there is certainly a good percentage of the population that is not liberal and an even bigger percentage that has turned away from the mainstream press – including Fox – in general, because of perceived bias. I’m guessing that today’s reporters, for the most part, have been educated in a more liberal-leaning system and see their role as something more than “just the facts ma’am”….they really do want to shape the news, not just report on events.

    But, I don’t really know…..

    • wilma permalink
      December 3, 2012 12:57 pm

      The Governor of Vermont, Peter Shumlin has a libido and a morality that would make Newt Gingrich blush. The Vermont media have decided never to mention it. Which 23 year old blond, younger than his daughters, is he in Bermuda with this week while his long suffering wife, er suffers?

      Maybe 10 years ago a good friend of mine, a former head to the Vermont GOP who had an influential republican political blog that was actually read by all the political class in Vermont, did mention Shumlin’s (then a state Senator) perpetual tail chasing. There was this other so-called journalist, since deceased, Peter Freyne, who was the liberal-progressive pit bull in Vermont journalism; Freyne set upon my friend (actually, his own old friend as well) and tried to get him fired from a gig he had writing a political column for Vermont Business Magazine for mentioning the Shumlin’s behavior, which was way beyond blatant. The thing was that Freyne had ruthlessly attacked every politically conservative woman in Vermont, most especially potential gubernatorial candidate Ruth Dwyer, and exposed all the details of their personal lives in his own nasty left-wing political gossip column in the widely distributed and read free progressive weekly news and entertainment paper, Seven Days.

      That pissed me off so much (both Freyne’s own gossip spreading and his hypocrisy toward our old friend ) that I set upon him, and excuse my lack of modesty, truly did a number on him in every available venue, including Vermont Business magazine and inflicted such damage on him that his editors actually reined him in from that point on. My friend James kept his column as well.

      The ironic thing is that the liberal-progressive Vermont icon Freyne was an utterly misogynistic SOB who used his column to harass women of any political persuasion, although he specialized in humiliating conservatives. The publishers of Seven Days were two very progressive women. Which explains why it was pretty easy for me to give him a fine public beating. Yes, something I am proud of years later. Preening again.

      • December 4, 2012 1:03 am

        In your entire monolog, I am finding it hard to see where something important mattered.

        Having been a victim of some of your “fine public beatings”, I think Freyne’s pinky should have been terrified.

        Stop preening and hack up the hairball.

      • December 9, 2012 10:49 am

        You do seem pretty high on yourself there Wilma. BTW, how are Fred and Pebbles?

    • December 4, 2012 9:59 pm

      The mainstream press has some enormous double standards.

      Edwards had a wife dying of cancer and was conducting an affair with a campaign staffer, and using compaign donations to keep it quiet.

      That was not a story until the tabloids ran it.

      Herman Cain may/may not have made some suggestive comments 40-50 years ago and that was news and effectively ended his campaign.

      It is probably appropriate to judge candidates more harshly according to the standards they set for themselves – many republicans stress family values, it is reasonable to expect they better live up to them. But democrats are not held to equivalent standards. Obama claimed to be the candidate of mainstreet not wall street, the ordinary man on the street, to be doing battle with corporate villans for the soul of the country. So where are the stories about this administration being in bed with Wall Street ? or Big Corporations ?
      The GOP is portrayed as the party of big business, but the record is that Democrats are far more heavily into chrony capitolism and big business PPACA is being sold as reigning in the evil healthcare and health insurance industries – so why were insurance companies on board and supporting it ? Because they got exactly what they wanted out of it. And what they wanted is far from our best interests. There is a reason PPACA is some 2500 pages long – because it takes a great deal of legislation to create and obfuscate political rewards and set asides. This administration already waivers the unwaiverable or doesn’t based on politics rather than policy.

      I keep stressing to everyone that discretion in government action is pure corruption, but no one here is listening. There is still total buyin to the myth that if only we could elect the right leaders or appoint the right bureaucrats that everything would work
      The practical argument for limited government is that it is not possible to have incorruptible government.

      Hold republicans to the standards they impose on themselves – but do the same for democrats. This administration is incredibly disappointing – because so much of the Bush policies that Sen. Obama ranted about, have been doubled down on by President Obama.

  24. December 3, 2012 10:23 pm

    There are even a few liberals who grasp the imporatance of fee speech.

    http://www.spiked-online.com/site/reviewofbooks_article/13130/

    I strongly support FIRE – does that make me progressive or ultra-conservative ?

  25. December 4, 2012 9:50 am

    Dave, you brought up a great point, a few comments back, regarding the blogosphere as a place where investigative journalism survives. And I would agree with you (although you didn’t specifically say this) that it is the current free, unregulated environment of the internet that gives rise to many of these writers, many who would never succeed in big corporate media.

    And, although it is only a tangent to this, it made me think about John Stewart, whose show on The Comedy Channel has become a more popular news source than many mainstream outlets. Stewart is often criticized for his “clown nose on/clown nose off” approach to news/entertainment, and he definitely has his own liberal bias….nevertheless, he consistently shows more balance in his shows than most anchors on major networks, and his serious interviews with writers and politicians are generally far more informative than most I’ve seen on, say, “60 minutes.”

    • December 4, 2012 10:58 am

      I love Stewart and Colbert – I also regularly listen to NPR. But I do not pretend they are fair or balanced.

      Particularly with Stewart and Colbert, there is little pretense.

      And that is fine with me. I do not honestly believe that – fair, balanced, objective are possible or even desirable.

      I think the media did an abysmal job in this election – but their biggest failure and their biggest loss is the pretense they were objective, fair and balanced.
      Stewart’s tilt has little cost – it is overt, he makes no claim to be fair, balanced impartial.
      But much of the media does and did, and deserves to be judged by the standards they set for themselves.

      The cost for the hypocracy of much of the media is waning interest in the traditional media.

      Though the average blogger is not the comedic genius that Stewart is, they too are honest about where they stand.

      I have not personally watched FOX, MSNBC, or cable/broadcast news in years.
      But I frequent a significant number of web sites – including many with a pronounced left tilt. I have a greater problem with pundits that are deceptive or self deluded about their bias than those that wear it on their sleeves.

      I would also note that Stewart has periodically been drawn into real head to head debates with other real news figures, he has typically deflated the air bags, but he has generally come off weak and flat against those that actually know their stuff.

      Stewart is best when he is an honest zealot, and worst when he takes himself too seriously and pretends he is objective.

    • December 4, 2012 11:25 am

      I also do not think journalism is dead or that the 50’s/60’s was some pinnacle of objectivity and balance.

      I greatly prefer the information environment today. It – particularly internet and new media sources are how the market really works. Many choices, many sources, no one size fits all, everyone seeking their own market, their own niche. Some sources structuring themselves to appeal to broad numbers and others seeking very narrow but dedicated audiences.

      I think investigative journalism is being reborn. I think the James O’Keefe efforts are fantastic, and I would welcome the left’s efforts to do the same things.

      I believe the more we know about our government and our leaders the more libertarian we will become. I also believe that comparable scrutiny of markets will cast them more rather than less favorably.

      There is always someone trying to take shortcuts to get ahead, but the market works to suppress a great deal of that, while in the political world it is often rewarded.

      BP has been through two CEOs over the gulf spill – Which has as much or more government failure written all over it as private.

      Who has left government over Benghazi ? If Pres. Obama were the US CEO he would be out. Susan Rice’s shilling for the administration has not cost her her job, just the chance at advancement that it is increasingly obvious she is not up to.

      Regardless, on every possible subject we have more information available to us than ever before in human history.

      I was by my father’s house yesterday, on his bookshelves is the 1967 edition of Britannica encyclopedia – some 8′ of the best knowledge of the world that existed 40+ years ago.
      For more than a decade that was my primary source for knowledge of everything from steam engines to sex, from homo-sexuality to ship design.

      Today in 2 seconds i can immediately access 1000 times as much information on any single subject. Wikipedia alone dwarfs the information in the 1967 Britannica.

      The cost ? I must be more discerning. I have to assess competing views, I have to separate the wheat from the chafe. The benefits ? Vastly more information about everything, the up to the instant state of knowledge on any subject.

      This is the reality of a free market – more choice, far far more choice, many and better choices, choices tailored to your own needs. The price ? More choice. no one spoon feeds you the answers, sometimes you have to work to sort out the best solutions for your own problems.

      The greatest benefits of one size fits all is that we do not have to think about it – someone else does our thinking for us.

      So which is it you want ? It does not matter whether the subject is healthcare, news, or produce. If you do not want to have to think about your choices. If you do not care about finding the best choice for you, then let the government run it. It will do so badly and with great inefficiency and cost, it will favor those who game the political system but for most of us it will be “fair” – we will all get screwed equally by arbitrary and capricious rules. But if you are willing to put a little effort into making your own choices, the free market will always provide you with something far closer to the best fit for you personally – and it will do that for everyone, and it will do it at the lowest cost.

      But it will be messy, it will look much like the internet – an overwhelming number of choices, both good and bad.

  26. December 4, 2012 11:26 am

    More government failure. And some interesting rumblings from the right about changing it.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-11-29/a-free-market-fix-for-the-copyright-racket.html

  27. December 4, 2012 11:48 am

    There is much here to disagree with, but the charts are particularly interesting – a decline in government spending has not coincided with a decline in economic growth. Despite claims of the fiscal cliff scare mongers, the worst consequence of a decline in government spending will likely be – a decline in government spending. The best would be real growth.

    http://macromarketmusings.blogspot.com/2012/12/paul-krugman-will-not-like-these-figures.html

    I suspect though that this is not entirely true. Historically a decline in government spending has sometimes (but not always) resulted in a short brief recession followed by significant sustained growth.

    Tax increases – particularly those on capitol and investment have nearly universally had negative impacts.

  28. December 4, 2012 1:50 pm

    Is Love the Ocean a closet libertarian ?

    The argument that red and blue states should each benefit directly from their own success, that they owe nothing to neighboring states of different ideology – is a libertarian argument. It is no different from the argument that the rich should benefit from their success and have no obligation to disproportionately support those who have been less successful.

    This argument has even broader implications. The most significant shift over the past decade has been the migration of purported social safetynet benefits into the middle class.

    At the core of the current fiscal cliff debate is who should be paying for this transformation.
    the obvious answer should be Cui bono” – who benefits.

    The US today is actually the most redistributive major western country in the world. Europe combines more progressive income taxes that ours with large and highly regressive consumptions taxes. The President is arguing that the US needs to be more progressive like europe – then maybe we need to explore that european model.

    Like it or not redistribution does not work. The less people in any class are able to reap the rewards of their own efforts, the more you demonize them for their success, the less reason they have to succeed. We can make the wealthy pay for the expansion of government benefits into the middle class – but the cost will be less growth, less jobs, less wealth for all of us.

    Following LTO’s model, more benefits for the middle class should be paid for by the middle class. Further if blue states can and should cease to support red states, by the same principle, those of us that want a social safetynet extending into the middle class should be free to choose (and pay for) that, and those who do not should be free to choose to forego having and paying for that.

    • December 5, 2012 2:10 pm

      excellent article – but Thomas Sowell usually is.

      Two things I do not think he emphasized enough:

      Those of us who believe that the best for all – for the world, for the nation, for the poor, is achieved by the greatest freedom and the most fiscal responsibility though usually unassailable in logic are poor at spin.

      I listened to Paul Krugman eloquently solve all the worlds problems – his silver tongued rhetoric was persuasive and uplifting – but none of it held up to even lite scrutiny. Essentially it was misrepresentation from end to end.
      The president is atleast as capable of assuring us all that up is down and left is right, that it is absolutely essential to raise taxes on everyone earning over 200,000 – despite the fact that the whitehouses own projections show negligible revenue from that. Further Sen. Obama told us that the Bush tax cuts for the middle class were not stimulative (they weren’t), but that repealing them now would be fiscally disastrous. Republicans have essentially proposed the Simpson-Bowles plan from the Whitehouses own blue ribbon economic panel – yet their counter is laughable.
      We purportedly need more “shovel ready” economic stimulus – our infrastructure is purportedly in desparate need of repair to the tune of $2T. While my ability to drive to work each day has still not recovered from the first round of stimulus – I still am delayed in several places for mostly meaningless road construction that no one will even be able to tell was done after the road crews move on. Our infrastructure can always be improved – but in my county and everywhere i have traveled in the past 4 years it is better than it has ever been in my lifetime – yet I am told to disregard my eyes and accept that it is crumbling. The orignal shovel ready projects did little more than transfer labor from existing private projects to new govenrment projects. There was no significant increase in employment in the construction labor force, further unless we are planning to continue government stimulus indefinitely, these additional projects will all eventually end and private enterprise will be expected to absorb large numbers skilled in building roads and bridges – with no additional roads and bridges to build. Beyond that – actually look at modern road construction – it is a highly automated process, involving many large expensive machines and few jobs.
      And on and on.

      What is most disturbing – and particularly what is most disturbing at TNM is that people actually buy this and myriads of other self contradictory stories.

      When someone knocks on my door making promises that are too good to be true and defy a lifetime of experience and knowledge – I call the police and have them arrested for fraud, yet in politics we rush to elect whatever politician promises some magical cure for whatever ails us.

      The failures of government I rant about are not accidents – they are natural consequences. There is always someone owed sufficient political favors to profit from any government endeavor. Many government programs are sold to the public for their purported societal benefits but their real reason for existing is to reward those owed political favors. Solyndra’s Bridges to nowhere are not rare accidents of government investment, they are the norm.

      The left decries the right’s purported war on science – but the left wages a war on logic and reason.

      Here Rick, Ian, …. I have some magic beans. Plant them and you can avoid the hard choices. Increasing taxes on investment will no longer reduce investment. Government growing faster than inflation will somehow magically be paid for. Sixty percent of us can take more than we give and everything will still work fine. Government investment in – …. will not really turn out to be payoffs of political debts, and government subsidized jobs will eventually become profitable and permanent.

      It is good that more states are legalizing Marijuana – it is only while stoned that the magic beans actually work. Unfortunately eventually we have to come back to the real world.

  29. December 5, 2012 4:42 pm

    Though there is some typical brooks misunderstanding of economics – tax increases for the so called rich are economically harmful period.

    A bad idea does not become good because the majority of americans support it, or because big business supports it. or because defense contractors support it.

    Barring substantial changes beyond what either party is talking about we have a serious mess coming.

    The probability of a recession in 2013 is high. It will likely happen if we do nothing. It will likely happen even if sequestration and the repeal of the bush tax hikes does not happen.

    Pretending that not passing a debt ceiling increase is tantamount to economic suicide is again inverted thinking. Passing a debt ceiling increase without bringing spending down is economic suicide.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/04/opinion/brooks-the-truly-grand-bargain.html

    Regardless, the GOP should give up, give democrats whatever they want and assure that whatever happens is blamed on the democrats.

    Republicans are abysmally bad at arguing the merits of their case, let failure teach people they were right.

  30. December 5, 2012 4:45 pm

    Another instance where failure may be necescary for us to learn.

    http://washingtonexaminer.com/the-truman-doctrine/article/2515051#.UL-OI-4idh0

  31. December 5, 2012 4:53 pm

    Who are the losers in the Obama plan to tax the crap out of those making over 200,000 ?
    Mostly the upper middle class – engineers and other productive professionals and almost entirely in blue states.
    Further those states have the greatest “income inequality” with the largest concentrations of both rich and poor, and far less of those in the middle class that will benefit from retaining the bush middle tax cuts.

    So who wins – mostly the red states – as well as favored groups of rich who are going to be paying little or none of this tax increase regardless.

    Oops.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/joelkotkin/2012/12/04/the-blue-state-suicide-pact/

  32. December 5, 2012 5:14 pm

    I find more and more reasons to admire Greewnwald all the time.
    Though is is decidedly left of center, unlike nearly all the modern left, he is not hypocritical. If he criticised Bush for civil liberties violations, for endless war and cronyism he labastses Obama for the same malfeasance.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/dec/05/obamacare-fowler-lobbyist-industry1

    Rick take note. So long as government has power, that power will be used corruptly.
    From what I can see here not an overt dollar changed hands. yet clearly in every possible way, PPACA was shaped and implemented by the very industry it sought to regulate, in the best interests of that industry.

    This is not an accident, it is not fixable by making making us less free. It is not fixable by electing better leaders – I thought Pres. Obama was our incorruptible mesiah ?
    It is only fixable by limiting the power of govenrment.

  33. December 5, 2012 5:32 pm

    Look to Canada for a more rational approach to immigration.

    http://reason.com/archives/2012/12/04/immigration-lessons-from-up-north

  34. December 5, 2012 5:38 pm

    The big lie both parties are telling about spending cuts.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323401904578157233680080150.html

    • December 6, 2012 1:00 am

      Throughout the election the whitehouse has been telling us that the economy is gaining strength – yet the presidents is now talking about the need for significant further stimulus.

      So which is it – was he lying then or is he lying now ? And why is it that so few grasp that the rhetoric of the campaign is at odds with that post election ?

      Are we so accustomed to being lied to that we neither notice nor care ?

      How can anyone defend this obviously self contradictory crap and still claim to be logical, or rational ?

  35. December 6, 2012 1:11 am

  36. December 6, 2012 1:20 am

  37. December 6, 2012 3:38 pm

    Susan Estrich – Mike Dukakis’s 1988 campaign manager, comments on tax increases.

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2012/11/25/the_mandate_to_raise_taxes_on_the_rich_116242.html

    • Ron P permalink
      December 7, 2012 2:55 pm

      From past performances, I don’t think the Republicans in congress are smart enough to fashion a plan such as this. It will backfire through the constant PR releases by the president to the main stream media. They will support B.O.’s position that the republicans have caused major spending cuts and economic instability by their refusal to negotiate more reasonable spending limits.

      the Republicans are light years away from anyone with an ounce of communication talent that Ronald Reagan had in making Republican positions acceptible to the mass.

      • December 7, 2012 8:47 pm

        The way I see it, 51% of voters knew that Obama’s plan was to soak the rich, and cut defense. Yes, the press made sure to report this in the least threatening terms, and, yes, the GOP did a pretty poor job of explaining how raising taxes on everyone over $200K would kill private sector jobs (it’s not that hard to understand, but somehow, the press and the Republicans made it that way), at the same time failing to put even a dent in the deficit or the federal debt.

        So, in my view, the tax, borrow and spend side has won, at least for now. I don’t really know what the Republicans can do, with only one house of Congess and a majority party bent on driving their bargain at any cost. A communicator like Reagan would be great, but I don’t know if even a Reagan would be able to get his message out to a majority of Americans who believe that the “rich” are not paying “their fair share,” despite all evidence to the contrary.

        We’ll see what happens when the middle class realizes that taxes are going up for everyone, once the temporary payroll tax cut ends, and Obamacare taxes kick in. I’m not sure reality will hit even then.. It will probably take the collapse of the dollar to wake everyone up…..and by that time, we will be in far worse shape than we are now.

      • December 10, 2012 1:24 am

        Another argument i have heard made is that Obama is actually trying to facilitate a split in the GOP. that if he can peel off enough Republicans in the house from the more conservative elements that he can form a majority with the democrats. That he may be trying to get Boehner to something that only requires some GOP votes.

        I do not think it matters.

        I do find it shocking that a majority of people still beleive the current mess is Bush’s responsibility not Obama’s. I am no big Bush fan, but very few recessions have lasted longer than 18 months, and the “financial recessions are different” meme has been soundly refuted.

        What is different is the recession, the fiscal cliff, …. are all dwarfed by the real problem – the federal budget is unsustainable.

        The GOP is abysmal at getting their message out – of course they are thwarted by a press that has lost even the pretense of objectivity.

        I am glad Romney did not win, because he was not the right person to fix this mess, and because absent taking the tough steps to fix it, he and the GOP would have been blamed. that said he should have won. Any president presiding over 4 years of recession with a double dip threatening would ordinarily have been cooked. .

      • Ron P permalink
        December 10, 2012 12:44 pm

        This comment made based on the majority knowing there are a handful of those that do not fit into this mold.

        We can only blame ourselves for the mess we are in. Both parties, all generations still alive. The older generation has raised children that are of voting age today that place themselves first in any decisions they make. All voting decisions are made on what can government do for me. Even those that are more conservative do not want any entitlements they are entitled to cut. Medicare and social security are ones that are at the forefront. When looking at the votes this past election, minorities went for Obama overwhelmingly. Women, especially those younger than 50 voted overwhelmingly for Obama. Only the white male voted in numbers for Romney. Minorites are more interested in social programs and immigration issues that impact them directly. Women we more interested in social issues that impacted them directly. Few had any fiscal reasons to vote for Romney that would change their decisions that impacted “ME”.

        Given the actuarial table lifespan, I may not live long enough to see the day that the real fiscal cliff hits the US. But the voters that keep voting on “ME” issues and not fiscal issues most likely will and I can only say “you get what you ask for”.

      • December 10, 2012 5:01 pm

        I think you’re right in many ways, Ron. Voters WANT the welfare state that Obama and the Democrats promise….they just don’t want to PAY for it. They want someone else to pay for it.

        And Democrats have told them that someone else CAN pay for it – the “rich,” i.e. those making over $200K. Obama always phrases this in a charming way: “We need to “ask” the rich to pay a little more”….as if this were to be a voluntary thing, that any self-respecting “rich” person working his ass off to pull in a couple hundred grand to pay his mortgage and bills would be glad to do, if only he cared about his fellow citizens.

        Ah, but the truth is that no one is “asking” anything. On the other hand, if those making good money can be demonized as selfish and uncaring, who really cares if the government takes more of their money. They’re selfish bastards anyway, and what with all of the unemployed, and all of the female law students needing subsidized birth control, why should we worry about them?

        So, yes, a majority of voters want this. The fact that it is unsustainable and will result in economic collapse at some point is really not important to them, because, I assume, that they believe that the collapse is far away and will never affect them.

  38. December 9, 2012 10:46 am

    OK, for the liberals on this board, tell me how this makes sense?

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-met-illegal-immigrant-kidney-transplant-20121209,0,3537821.story

    • December 10, 2012 1:34 am

      i have no problem with Jorge Mariscal receiving a transplant. I have no problem with him recieving anti-rejection drugs for the rest of his life. I have a problem with the government paying for it.

      What right do I have to tell Loyola University Medical Center what to do ?
      If other individuals or organizations want to foot the bill for the pills – fine. I might even be persuaded to chip in personally.

      There is very little difference between a citizen or an illegal immigrant getting medical services from government. In either instance they are essentially free riders.
      We might as well export our care to the entire world

      Regardless, it is highly unlikely that PPACA will solve this.
      Absent an incentives and pricing system which government can not create, we will have to triage medical services. I doubt illegals will be high on the list.

      • Ron P permalink
        December 10, 2012 12:59 pm

        Well I do not consider myself a liberal, but do not find anything wrong with this. He was brought to this country at one year old and raised and educated as an American.

        That is more than we can say for our President.

      • December 10, 2012 7:23 pm

        My comment was based on two issues here:

        1-This guy simply stated that everyone is entitled to a free transplant. Interesting perspective, coming from a guy who is not a citizen.

        2-He assumes there is a “free” anything. How stupid can you be. What he is really saying is that “someone” ought to provide care for everyone else. Who is that someone?

      • December 10, 2012 10:37 pm

        Jbastiat;

        I agree on your points – no one is entitled to a free anything.

        And there is no such thing as free anything.

        But there are many other points.
        So Jorge came to the US at 1, would he still be entitled if he came at 2 ? 10 ? 20? 50 ? What about mexicans egyptions chinese if Jorge is entitled why arent they ?

        No one is entitled – not even if they were born here and lived her all their lives. There are no special rights that US citizens have that humans elsewhere do not. Our difference in standard of living is something earned by what some of us produce, and it is that production that must pay for everything.

  39. December 10, 2012 10:39 pm

    Title pretty much says it all – can you guess where ? I’ll bet you can!
    School District Owes $1 Billion On $100 Million Loan

    http://www.npr.org/2012/12/07/166745290/school-district-owes-1-billion-on-100-million-loan

    • Ron P permalink
      December 11, 2012 12:37 am

      Don’t worry, life as we know it will end on 12-21-12, so this debt will nver need to be repaid. That is why they are operating in the manner they are.

  40. December 10, 2012 10:50 pm

    You have heard of the Lafffer curve – well California is experiencing the Laffer cliff.
    What happens when you increase taxes on the wealthy – instead of increasing revenue, taxes have decreased by 10.8% or nearly a billion dollars,

    http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2012/12/07/CALIFORNIA-STATE-BUDGET-GOES-OFF-THE-CLIFF

    • Ron P permalink
      December 11, 2012 12:50 am

      http://mediamatters.org/mobile/research/2012/12/10/foxs-varney-wrong-about-millionaires-fleeing-ca/191766

      Seems like different sources present different results. And some data is used in both studies reported by Breitbart and mediamatters.

      Was Breitbart study based on the 2005 millionare tax or one passed later? If 2005, looks like the decline could be the fiscal collapse in 2008 being the main cause.

      • December 11, 2012 8:07 am

        Affluent Californians have been leaving for years and one of them is writing this email. This new tax will simply accelerate the rate of departure. CA loses, Nevada and Texas gain.

      • December 11, 2012 9:15 am

        There are certain sources that I take with less than a grain of salt, and MediaMatters is one of them. That is not to say that Breitbart isn’t a right-wing outlet, but MM is an actual operative wing of the Democratic party. Plus, as JBas says, the exodus from California has been going on for years, and the newest tax hikes are just now kicking in ( prop 30 retroactively taxes 2012 income).

        There is a limit to how much milk you can get from beating a cow…evenually the cow keels over or runs away.

      • Ron P permalink
        December 11, 2012 12:54 pm

        pearows..Thanks. I was unaware that this prop was new.

      • December 11, 2012 10:41 am

        There are two independent issues:

        Are millionaires fleeing California ?

        Have tax revenues declined after the tax increase ?

        I suspect the answer to the first is yes. There is data from all over the country that the wealthy flea high tax states. However the data also shows that the flight is slow. Passing a huge tax increase on the rich does not result in 30% of them leaving a state overnight. But it may over a decade, and it definitely results in a slow loss of wealth.

        But the revenue issue is more important. The rich do not need to leave California for tax revenues to decline. They can chose to make less money – why work your ass off to make $2M/year when you can live equally comforatably on $1 ? Or they can chose to make that money in a way not subject to California taxes – and there are myriads of them.
        Investment choices for people with serious capitol are more mathematical excercises than anything else. Do you invest in something that is risky with a potential 10% return or something safe with a 5% return ? What if the safe return is tax free and the tax rates on the risky one go up 10% ?
        Safe tax free investments generally mean investing in government, they do not mean investing in economic growth or jobs.

        Nor are those the only choices. The critical point is that for those with significant amounts to invest increasing tax rates has a significant effect on their behavior – and none of those changes are good for the economy as a whole.

      • December 11, 2012 10:52 am

        Pearows and Bastiat;

        MM is a dubious source, but no one’s analysis should be accepted at face value.

        California’s tax revenue declined post tax increase.
        It could take some time to establish the specific mechanism for that decline in revenue, but the causal relationship to the tax increase looks obvious and that is what matters most.

        This is the root of the liberal idiocy that is trumpeted all over.
        Actions have consequences – some are easily foreseable, some are less so.

        When you tax something you get less of it. If you tax wealth you get less wealth. The specific mechanism is unimportant.

        So much of the ideology of the left requires that government actions have no consequences beyond the specific ones that are intended. It requires that the economy obey the wishes of government rather than the principles of economics. Nor is this confined to the economic arena. My wife works in criminal law, and daily encounters instances where statutory law runs contrary to natural law – physics. Legislators believe they can tell the sun when to rise and it must obey.

      • December 11, 2012 11:10 am

        My favorite economics/policy question, taught to me by the great Thomas Sowell, is as follows:

        “What happens next?” That one drives my students crazy, especially the liberal students (those who will actually admit it to me).

        Another is quotable as well: “I love how you start the story in the middle!”

      • December 11, 2012 12:05 pm

        Interesting sidebar story relating to this:

        “As the din of America’s falling headfirst over the fiscal cliff reverberates across the nation, the Obama administration is quietly killing a key economic metric that tells how, and how many, people are voting with their feet….

        The IRS and the U.S. Census Bureau (which provides technical support in reporting tax migration data) have not made an official announcement as to why the program is being discontinued. So we are left to speculate why such vital economic statistics suddenly got canceled.”

        http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/335317/embarrassing-metric-disappears-jim-pettit

      • December 11, 2012 12:23 pm

        And they wonder why we don’t trust this Chicago thug that is POTUS?

  41. December 10, 2012 10:56 pm

    Did the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) Lead to Risky Lending?
    NBER thinks so.

    http://papers.nber.org/papers/w18609#fromrss

  42. December 11, 2012 8:07 am

    Capital (including human capital) goes where it is well treated. You don’t need a ton of data to understand that.

  43. Pat Riot permalink
    December 11, 2012 10:42 am

    I agree that nobody is entitled to a free anything. “Entitlements” are part of our demise, but there is waste all over the place at all different levels. Can the people responsible for the following be this stupid? To me it only makes sense as another example of weakening America on purpose. I hope the link works. If not I’ll try it another way.

    http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=506095022758115

    • December 11, 2012 12:11 pm

      Unbelievable.

      But, sadly, not so much……

    • December 11, 2012 4:46 pm

      Isn’t there a huge establishment clause problem here ?
      If the US government was giving money to the Catholic or Anglican churches or westboro baptist the ACLU would be up in arms.

      Further it seems to be working so well in Egypt.
      Finally, hasn’t anyone read “the ugly american” ? This stuff does not work. the money never ends up where it will do the most good or where it will improve relations the most.
      The fact is charity is extremely hard. You can not solve problems just by throwing money at them Even if we successfully spend millions and improve conditions at mosques across the world, we will not get credit for it. Do you think there is a plaque saying repairs and internet services courtesy of the american people ? Do you think the clerics have toned down their rhetoric even slightly ?

      Sure i can “buy” the rationale of building relationships, but someone is going to like everything government spends on, and someone else is going to be offended.
      The less government does the less likely it is to use your money for something you would not approve of, or worse to undermine your views.

      • Pat Riot permalink
        December 11, 2012 5:03 pm

        Gotta agree with you above Dave. The fact that those are religious buildings just adds another layer of insanity and insult to money being spent that we don’t have. And true friends aren’t bought with money, of course. We would win friends around the world via respect when we fix our own problems and stop allowing our so-called leaders to make us look foolish.

    • December 11, 2012 4:58 pm

      Pat

      “nobody is entitled to free anything”

      Congratulations – you are now a libertarian.

      That does not mean each of us is not free to be empathetic or generous, but force generosity is called theft or slavery and no moral merit accrues to either the master or slave.

      • Pat Riot permalink
        December 11, 2012 5:24 pm

        Asmith, I’ve been comfortable with the label of Libertarian for quite some time now. You and I don’t see eye to eye on “the last 5%” of many topics, like free-markets, self-interest, and government, but let’s find a way to save our country first by shrinking government and reducing waste, and then we’ll argue about the peripheral details!

        As far as “nobody is entitled to free anything,” if a person is dropped naked upon the earth they’ve got to make shelter and gather, hunt, or grow food. That’s the human condition–gotta get moving to save your skin, or trade with others who can help you save your skin. We ought to have the rights to save our own skins, but the idea of “entitlements” –as though we are “owed” something is by nature is ridiculous. We might be owed something by a contract, but not by our nature.

      • December 11, 2012 9:58 pm

        If there is such a thing as an anarchist libertarian (there is) I think Dave is there. I am a BIT less radical, but that is open to debate.

  44. Pat Riot permalink
    December 11, 2012 4:50 pm

    Pearows, It is unbelievable. It is sad. I’m so tired of being disgusted and disappointed by such actions by our supposed leaders, and by a population that is either asleep or mostly helpless when awake. Shopping isn’t going to solve all our problems, that’s for sure. I want so badly to be part of a country that I’m extremely proud of, not a weird mixture of pride and shame.

    In one sense, 770 million taxpayer dollars for renovations to overseas mosques could be looked at like “nobody’s minding the store” and “robbing the till” in that I’m sure those involved with such overseas deals get compensated in some way, whether it’s with property, “ancilary deals”, or other favors, and the American People be damned, but I think it’s unfortunately even more subversive than just individual greed and/or stupidity.

    I’ve been arguing for some time on TNM against across-the-board anti-government points of view because I know that bottom-up good government is possible, and needed, and because I’ve witnessed programs that work (Dave, I’m not talking about broad “policies,” like “no child left behind” etc, but rather about “programs,” with head counts like 60 people in a particular training program in a specific region with trackable outcomes) but I was only arguing against what I see as a prejudicial, too-sweeping anti-government viewpoint. I’m actually right there with most Libertarians, Tea Party folks, and right wingers when it comes to shrinking the government, especially the federal, down to “constitutional necessities.” But I’m right there with Ian Wazoo against extremism, partisanship, finger-pointing, and other forms of non-productive miscommunication.

    Has anyone changed their mind, i.e. moved ideologically, here on TNM in the last 2 years? I suppose I’ve moved a few paces to the right, but still not a hater of all offices of the governement, just the slimey bastards who abuse those offices.

    • December 11, 2012 5:24 pm

      Pat;

      I do not disagree with you that some government pilot programs have proven successful.

      When you carefully select those that you expect to succeed match them with dedicated and enthusiastic teachers, trainers, administrators, … you usually get good results.

      The data on many government pilot programs is incredible. The initial Section 8 housing program produced stupendous results. But it selected those people most likely to succeed and unsurprisingly they did.

      As I mention repeatedly I have an apartment building. I have 5 families as tenants. All are approximately the top of the bottom quintile. It is obvious that some are going to succeed and some are going to fail.

      But we do not and can not run government programs that way. We can not say we will offer job training, housing assistance, food stamps, but only to those who will actually benefit from them.

      If we offer a benefit we create eligibility rules and anyone meeting those rules is “entitled” to the benefit. Not only those who will use it well.

      Charitable programs often fail for exactly the same reason – but less often because they are allowed to discriminate and because donors expect some proof off success to continue donating.

      But the very best things you can do for someone in need is to exchange what they need for something you need.

      This is why economists, and libertarians hate things like the minimum wage.
      There is almost never a time when I do not have things I need and money I am willing to spend to get them. And there is almost always someone willing to do what i want for what I am willing to pay. But it is usually illegal and even when not horribly difficult.

      If I hire someone to rake leaves for $25. I am technically obligated to collect and pay taxes, verify that they are allowed to work and make sure i pay them atleast minimum wage ?

      Why ?

      If i have to run a payroll – most of what i might be willing to pay for is no longer worthwhile.
      I lose the benefits of the labor I am willing to pay for, and the person who wants to do the work loses the pay.

      Everything has a value. But the value to you may not be the same as to me, and the value to the person looking for work may be different than the person offering it.
      When there is not – or because of minimum wage can not be agreement on value there is no work and no pay.

      A job is not and can not be a right. The only right each of us have in any free exchange is the right to trade or not. An employer that offers a wage than is unacceptable to anyone will have to go without or raise what they are willing to pay until someone accepts. To the extent any of us are “coerced” into a job, by mortgages, rent, expenses, it is still not the employer doing the coercion, it is our circumstances.

      Nor is this just about employment, but about any price. If the exchange is not completely free, then the price is distorted. When prices are distorted the marketplace does not work as well. when we impose government rules on mortgages, we get too many or too few loans. We get loans that are not solvent, or too much risk for the cost.

      The only way we can assure that we are each getting the maximum possible of what we need and want, the greatest value for our effort, is if prices are set by the free market. Too much of one thing always means to little of another.

    • December 11, 2012 6:26 pm

      Pat, I am not a fan of partisan debate, if by partisan, we are talking about the parroting of mindless talking points back and forth, to no purpose (sort of what Ian often accuses me of doing, lol). Yeah, and finger pointing is pretty lame too.

      On the other hand, I don’t think that pointed criticism, provided it is reasonable and factual, should be automatically labeled as partisan. That is where I often take issue with the term “moderate” being deployed as an endgame strategy to cut off certain types of criticism (e.g. if you are against big government, you cannot be a moderate)..

      I have often been persuaded to think twice about my own perceptions and opinions, after reading other people’s comments here….I don’t know that I have moved significantly to the left or to the right over the past 2 years, but I have certainly seen a leftward drift in the political landscape at large. Many more Americans seem satisfied to accept guarantees of a subsistence over the potential for success, and are more willing to vote for those who issue those guarantees, even if it means that success will be demonized and punished. I don’t know if it’s really that the country has become more left wing, or just that the long recession and changing social norms have made us more risk-averse.

      • December 11, 2012 10:00 pm

        Priscilla is one of the better thinkers I know. She has a discipline that many could emulate.

    • Ron P permalink
      December 11, 2012 7:44 pm

      Pat, I have to agree when you say you are not a hater of all government offices. I will add that no government office ever created graft, kickbacks or special interest program support. Only those holding the office created the slimey mess and one can say the voters are responsible when they do not vote those individual out.

    • December 11, 2012 9:57 pm

      Nope.

  45. December 11, 2012 6:23 pm

    Pat;

    We all want a better world, we all want the greatest number of people, in the us and everyone else to be as happy as possible.

    I personally get enraged at those who claim that anyone that does not support every government program that might benefit anyone is a heartless, selfish, greedy bastard.

    The critical issue is not what do we wish to accomplish – but how.

    I constantly refer to the government privilege of using force as all that distinguishes government from voluntary associations – like corporations.
    Why ? Because if that is what distinguishes government from other voluntary forms of association, then only those things that require force should be the domain of government.
    I think that is blatantly obvious pure logic. I can not even conceive of how that could be debatable. Why would you chose to use force when you do not need to ?

    I do not doubt that some of your small programs have been successful. I do not even doubt that under the right circumstances very large programs can succeed – so long as those circumstances remain. Even the fact that social security was wildly successful for years does not mean that it is not fundamentally flawed. It is failing now. And it is failing for reasons that were easily foreseeable when the program was started, and have been harped on for its entire life. It is a classic ponzi scheme and highly vulnerable to demographic changes. Further any government program that provides direct benefits to large numbers of individuals without intrinsic limits must reach a tipping point at which the political power of the beneficiaries will overpower any restraint.

    Madison noted that if men were angels no government would be necessary.
    Governments themselves are made of the same imperfect men that they govern.
    Any evil men might do as individuals will find expression in government.
    The only means of restraining that evil is by limited the power of government.

    For all the ranting of corporate plutocrats, there has never been a business of anykind that has come within an order fo magnitude of the evils perpetrated by men in government. Worldwide deaths at the hands of business malevolence or ineptitude for the past century are dwarfed by those in Rwanda.
    There is no business equivalent of Pol Pot, much less Mao, Stalin or Hitler.

    The entirety of human history gives us reason to be suspicious of government of all kinds. Even the worst anarchy in human history does not compare to the top 100 instances of government failure.

    Government is a necessary evil. Its only legitimate purpose is suppressing the violence of individuals. There is no other task it can performs that requires the sole unique power of government – the use of force.

    Men are capable of good. They do far more good than harm. They do more still when there tendency to harm is impeded – and that is the role of government.
    Men in government are still men – men with far more power to do good or evil. If we want limits on individuals, why do we not grasp that we need even more limits on government.

    Why do progressives presume that individuals are evil, that they become even more evil when they engage in free exchange – business, but somehow become angels when they are in government ?

    At the root of everything is men, mostly good, some evil, and many shades between.
    Men alone, men in families, in churches, in businesses, and in government – are still men. The argument that the individual must be strongly controlled, that businesses must be prevented from killing their customers, follows to governments will become tyrannical. they are all exactly the same argument.

  46. Pat Riot permalink
    December 11, 2012 8:03 pm

    Many of the ills and wrongs being perpetrated by modern governments, including our hijacked U.S. government, are actually being perpetrated by the private sector, by corporations, some more powerful than nations. These ills and wrongs are ill and wrong because they are often not for the common good, but to hamper competition and to maintain control of favorable circumstances, via government, through government, not for the common good, not for the people, but for the benefit of a minority at the top of the pyramid.

    • December 11, 2012 9:46 pm

      Exactly, Pat, and these private sector corporations and plutocrats at the top of the pyramid would not be able to thwart the common good were it not for their powerful government cronies.

      We can’t, on the one hand, blame companies like Google for avoiding billions of dollars in US and international taxes,via shell companies in Bermuda, without blaming the politicians who have made sure that these legal tax avoidance plans exist, in order to continue the lucrative hand in glove relationship between government and business. Government should not be taxing the hell of small businesses and middle class citizens, while allowing favored big businesses and unions to avoid paying their “fair share.”

      Obama and his cronies are just as bad as any Republican administration – same show, different cast. No one should become a multi-millionaire as a public servant, but it happens all the time, and then these same sanctimonious politicians turn around and demonize those who have made money in spite of the government.

      • December 11, 2012 10:05 pm

        Dead on. Obama is out for Obama and no one else.

      • Pat Riot permalink
        December 11, 2012 11:52 pm

        I can’t argue with that, Pearows!

    • December 11, 2012 9:54 pm

      There is little i would disagree with.

      But you are only reporting what is seen and very little of that.

      What corporations have hijacked the US government without the government being complicit ? The US federal government is almost 25% of the US economy, it spends nearly $4T/year with revenue ot $3T. Exxon the current Forbes 500 #1 company has revenues of $400B and profits of $40B or 9.5% profits for the entire fortune 500 are $858B and average 7% of revenue.

      The purpose o a business is not to serve the common good. Serving the common good is actually impossible, because there is no commonly agreed on definition of the common good. Stalin, Hitler, Mao, and Pol Pot all thought they were serving the common good.

      Regardless the purpose of a business is to create wealth for its investors, To do that it must produce something its customers value more than the money they pay for its goods. No one holds a gun to your head and says you must fill up at Exxon or buy dvd’s from Walmart. the exchange is voluntary.

      All businesses seek advantage over their competition, that is not evil it is good, it is called competition, and absent government it means prices decline faster than wages and we are all more wealthy There is no instance in history of any monopoly or cartel that endured for more than a short time absent government aide. If you want competition all you need to do is get government entirely out of the economy.

      in the past you have argued for regulation – it is that very act of regulating that enables some businesses to most hamper their competition.

      Businesses do not serve a tiny minority at the top of the pyramid. They serve us. We are their customers. exxon worked very hard to produce $400B of gasoline – for us. It would not have produced it if we did not want it badly enough to part with our money for it. The past decade has made it dramatically clear that US consumers are capable of reducing their gasoline consumption by as much as 25% – not through more restrictive laws and regulations, or more fuel efficient cars, but as a response to gasoline prices. The laws of supply and demand work. When prices go up demand goes down, profits go down. When profits go up competitors sharper their teeth. In return for providing the american people for something we deemed by the act of purchasing it worth $400B last year, Exxon kept a paltry $40B of that. The US government collected far more in fuel taxes. that $40B was reinvested in the company or paid out to shareholders. And who are they ? 60 years ago most US companies were owned directly by private individuals, mostly by middle class people who bought a share or two with each paycheck. Today the big owners of US corporations are our IRA’s, pension plans, 401K’s – again us.
      A share of Exxon costs $88 today. If you buy that share, you will receive $2.18 each year in dividends. That is a return of 2.4% Hopefully the stock price will increase because otherwise you are not doing much better than a certificate of deposit.
      So whoever owns Exxon whether it is the Warren Buffets or the Joe Schmoes, they are giving the rest of us $405.7B of their money in the hope that they will get back each year 2.4 cents for each dollar. Giving $405.7B to the rest of us ? How ? It is their money that produced the gasoline that we buy that lets us get from home to work or to our vacation. I we stop Buying gasoline, or even slow down as we have done when prices rise too much, they get less not more. If some magic fuel came along tomorow and replaced gasoline, they could lose everything very quickly. Maybe that is not likely in the short run for Exxon, but what about Apple ? The next great uber phone or tablet could come from somewhere else. Apple could take a dive – they have done so twice before. No matter what we can be assured of having ever better tablets and phones at ever decreasing prices. But Apple has no assurance of being in business tomorow.

      Finally why is it you beleive that government server the common good ?
      Why is it you beleive all these problems you see in business are not present in government ?
      Accross the globe we have some 400+ odd monopolies – not one is a business, everyone is a government. Each seeks its own best interests not some undefineable common good. In some instances – those countries where freedom is greatest and where the rule of law is strongest there is a strong correlation we have the greatest improvement in standard of living and usually the highest standards of living – our best approximation of “the common good” but that common good was not bestowed by government – though it would not have happened in anarchy, that good was the benefit of freedom. Individual freedom. Because the market, Exxon, … is nothing more than many, often millions of individuals each pursuing their own self-interest, and delivering the common good.

      I do will not argue that individually or in groups some will attempt or even succeed at bending the power of government to serve their own needs. in 150,000 years of human existence only one means has ever been found that works to impede that – and that is limiting the power of government to only that necessary to assure the rule of law – that sole task that only government can do, that task that is the entirety of the social contract, protecting us from the violence of others.

      All power beyond that will inevitably be used somehow by some special interest. Should it ever be possible to prevent business from bending government to its will, some other interest will emerge to accomplish the same.

      Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely

    • December 11, 2012 10:04 pm

      No form of organization is “good or bad” Corporations, governments are simply abstractions created to allow individuals to collectively act. Assuming the gov’t is more virtuous than corporations is simply nonsensical.

      Government is supposed to work on our behalf to set up a reasonably functioning society where individuals are free to pursue their own legal ends, The failure of government to do just that is unforgivable!

  47. Pat Riot permalink
    December 11, 2012 8:35 pm

    Dave, you said”
    “Government is a necessary evil. Its only legitimate purpose is suppressing the violence of individuals. There is no other task it can performs that requires the sole unique power of government – the use of force.”

    You are not seeing the whole picture. There are other aspects of life for which government is needed and wanted that are not related to the violence of individuals and do not involve the use of force.

    The things that threaten each of us humans can be put into three categories: other humans (this is the area that you focus on), the environment (the Earth itself) and ourselves.

    The environment threatens our lives and health with poisonous snakes, grizzly bears, germs, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, floods, lightning strikes, mosquitoes, extreme cold and extreme heat, poisonous frogs, scorpions, wolf packs, quicksand, and molten lava, to name a few. Different geographic regions have different issues. The private sector and free markets are not ideal for many problems common to people in a region because the myriad components of the private sector are busy making their myriad of widgets.

    Let’s say your little nation is on the coast and consistently is severely flooded. Who should fix the problem? The cabinet makers? The restaurant owners? The private sector? Who should pay for the solution? It’s everyone’s problem in this little flooded nation.

    The people get together and agree it’s a common problem. They look around for smart people to solve their problem. This coming together is government. They all chip in some money for a system of dikes, levies, and canals. They’re smart enough to hire private sector specialists to build it, but they put an objective committee in charge to make sure it’s done to the people’s wishes. The committee is a form of government. If the people appointed have integrity, this government has a chance of being good government. Where’s the force? Everybody wanted to be protected from the floods.

    • December 11, 2012 10:30 pm

      It is not the role of government to protect us from nature. We can and have since the beginning of time done that for ourselves. History is the record of our progress in that endeavor. Who provided you with shelter from the rain ? Is that a right ? Can government even promise us shelter ? Lets all agree that shelter is a right and government must provide it. Sit back and wait for it to happen. Only two things can occur, no shelter will be forth coming, or government will exercise its right to use force, enslave you and put you to work building shelter. in all of history government has only rarely been responsible for shelter, yet we have some of the most resplendent shelter imaginable. The poorest homeless person in this country is better sheltered than man for most of his existence – most homeless people at least have coats.

      Why should we be protected from ourselves ? Why are we not free to make bad decisions that harm no one but ourselves ? Why cant I drink a 64 oz soda ? Why can’t I chose to end my own life if I wish ?

      There is no such thing as everyone’s problem. Regardless, if your “dike committee” is purely voluntary – i can contribute and reap any benefits or join a neighboring committee that I like better, or not join any committee at all, then what you have is not government, it is something else. It is a private corporation.

      Everybody wants lots of things – world peace, unimaginable wealth, …..
      Wanting something is not enough. Nor does a want or need create a reason for the use of government force. Further everyone does not want everything equally. I want to live near a river. I want protected from floods – but I do not want it enough to buy a house near a river and to pay for flood insurance.

      We each have our own wants and needs, They overlap alot, but at the same time few are even shared by the majority – except in the most vague an broad terms.
      i believe the desire for healthcare reform still polls at over 70%. But PPACA still has more opposition that support. We all agree on sweeping generalizations. Very few of us agree on specifics. Compromise is fine when it is voluntary – not politicians compromising for us.

      I may well agree to join your Dike committee and build dikes in a way I know is inferior, but is better than I can do alone. So long as that is my free choice the fact that I get less that my perfect solution is acceptable – i was free to walk away.
      When Boehner and Obama eventually come to terms, I can assure you I will not like the results. But I am not free to walk away. If you are truly free to say yes or no, then it is not government.

      I do not understand why you can not grasp that the sole distinction between government and any other purely voluntary arrangement is the governments priviledge to use force.

      In your dike hypothetical, are you free not to contribute ? Will you be locked up if you say no ? Will you have your property taken from you if you do not chip in ?
      If the answer is yes, then what you have is government, and force. If not then you are confusing voluntary cooperation – often exactly the same as a corporation with government.

      Lastly, why do you have this great faith that some group of other uber smart people are going to plan everything better than you can ? We all have wants and needs, yours are NOT exactly the same as mine. Why is Albert Einstein the central planner going to succeedd at best meeting both yours and mine ? Freedom works because nothing else in all of human history has ever come anywhere near as close to giving everyone what they want – NOTHING. Central planning works in only a single instance. When there is a threat so great as to destroy society – a nation. We call this war. During war it is necescary for the survival of everyone to subordinate all efforts to the survivial of the nation. This is what powerful nations do best. It is the only thing they do well. But war destroys our wealth and freedom, in the hope of regaining it in the future. i doubt anyone here would welcome a state of constant war Further war absolutely demonstrates the flaws in a powerful government. War meets all the other needs of people badly. citizens focus on their survival and that of the nation – not improving their personal well being.

  48. December 11, 2012 8:58 pm

    Lessons from France,

    When government helps the poor, the poor are not helped. At best they are trapped in poverty, more likely they are worse off.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/realspin/2012/12/07/in-frances-welfare-state-status-quo-are-we-seeing-americas-future/

  49. Pat Riot permalink
    December 12, 2012 12:15 am

    Asmith, you are launching off in various directions, straying from the point, and putting words in my mouth. I did not state that it is the “role” of government to protect us from nature. The recurring flooding was an example of a need that will not be provided by local businesses because it is not their business to do so. We protect ourselves and our families. We do most of it. But there are tasks that require more of a collective effort, where it is in our best interest to have some things as a function of the “whole” and in the interests of the “whole” and not driven by individual interest. I don’t know why you can’t grasp individual self-interest (perhaps 90% of activities) and collective interest (perhaps 10%) co-existing. We are supposed to be directing the government. You are supposed to be the goverment. I am supposed to be the government. Bottom-up as we need it, not top-down tyranny. I certainly have no “great faith”…in uber smart others making decisions for us–that’s not my argument.

    The reason we are two nations, indivisible (I’m trying to tie it back, Rick!) is that we humans are still infants in communication. Can’t see the forest for the trees. Can’t see the BCS (Best Current Solutions) because the perspectives and idealogies are getting in the way.

    • Rob Anderson permalink
      December 12, 2012 12:38 am

      Pat,

      You are wasting your time, and I’m surprised that you haven’t figured out by now that asmith is a cypher, an unconscious concern troll, not to mention a right wing fanatic when it comes to the economy and how he believes it serves his selfish interests. He is the kind of person, in short, who would be amongst the first to be put up against a wall and SHOT if there were ever a genuine left-wing revolution in this country.

      If you and others keep feeding him, he will continue to squat over and dump his diarrheaic mind spew on this site. Fair warning.

      • December 12, 2012 9:02 am

        Ah, the words: Selfish. You forgot “racist.” These two words for liberals are like holy water tossed at a vampire. You guys are so predictable. Interesting that you mention the firing squad. Apparently, the only time the left likes guns is when THEY are the only ones with them.

        So, for the record, Dave is clearly not a right-winger. He is an anachro-capitalist/libertarian. It is important that we get our labels correct her on TNM.

  50. Pat Riot permalink
    December 12, 2012 9:06 am

    Rob Anderson, thanks, appreciate any acknowledgment of Asmith’s…special uniqueness. Normally, “special uniqueness” would be redundant. Very special puzzling uniqueness might be the nicest way anyone could say it.

    Ignoring him doesn’t work. I’ve disappeared for months and when I check back the current thread has a final tail of 5 or 6 posts from the Anarchist Libertarian who wants desperately to understand moderation and be like regular folks, haha!.

    It’s a good warm up exercise for me for other writing projects. It provokes my inner Patriot, gets my passions going. Where else can people write mini essays and get intelligent commentary? And the Black Knight is leaving a documented trail of admissions here on TNM. The stones in the wall are loosening. There’s rubble on the ground. One day the blogging landlord who was wronged by government may step out into the light. (On the other hand it is a waste of time, lol).

    • December 12, 2012 9:07 am

      Irony: Dems take on public union pensions in a blue state. Sounds like a familiar GOP theme.

      http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324339204578171340979593744.html?mod=djemAutos_h

      • Rob Anderson permalink
        December 12, 2012 4:19 pm

        Jbastiat,

        For one who claims that getting labels right is important, you fail miserably. I am not a “liberal”, I am a progressive left-libertarian. Just for the record. And whether Dave (or you) wants to admit it or not, he is a reactionary on economic issues. I think it would be fair to call him a moderate conservative on other issues, for example the environment. But he is more or less a social Darwinist on the economy and the government’s role in same.

      • December 12, 2012 4:58 pm

        Kind of picky for a progressive, aren’t you.

        How about statist or would nazi be more to your liking?

    • December 12, 2012 11:32 am

      I am not an anarchist. I am not even an anarcho-capitolist. I am perfectly capable of compromising on immediate objectives, but not on principles.

      On numerous issues I am far more liberal than nearly every poster here.

      I am not desparately seeking to understand moderation. I think i have a pretty good grasp of real moderation.

      What I do not understand is what passes for moderation on TNM – which is essentially tepid progressiveness combined with the fallacy of the golden mean.

      I do not understand the incredible faith expressed here in a form of government that his consistently failed. I do not understand the ability of posters here to accept blindly propositions which are obviously false on inspection, and demonstrably proved false by history.

      As a simple example was Pres. Hoover a proponent of Laissez-faire or was he an advocate of strong government management and intervention ?

      I suspect nearly everyone here believes the former. Yet, his life, his actions, his writing and his presidency are all proof of the later rather than the former.

      If you start from a false understanding of history, you are certain to draw false conclusions.

      Hoover is constantly trumpeted as the proof that Laissez-faire or government austerity fail, yet his presidency is indistinguishable – and actually more activist than FDR’s,

      “I accuse the present Administration of being the greatest spending Administration in peacetime in all our history.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt 1932.
      Hoover was “leading the country down the path of socialism”.

      “Hoover is leading the country down the path of socialism”. John Nance Gardner – FDR’s VP 1932.

      • December 12, 2012 11:49 am

        Well your concern about the faith expressed in government is very real and I share it. Propaganda starts when we are small children, when we study history and read how FDR got us out of the depression (if you are in office 12 years, how could that NOT happen?). Of course, capitalists are blamed for putting us into the Depression (were they that powerful!).

        Such is life. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

  51. December 12, 2012 9:15 am

    Eat the rich: French version. Is this what Barry wants here? Probably!

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/france/9738178/Frances-Jean-Marc-Ayrault-slams-flight-of-the-greedy-rich.html

  52. Pat Riot permalink
    December 12, 2012 9:23 am

    Hmm. How about Anal Libertarian/Free Market Extremist? An Anal Libertarian will have no exceptions jutting out and messing up the neat columns in the neat categories. Like Star Wars figurines arranged on the shelf in very specific positions and not to be touched. A friend of my wife’s was telling about a recent hospital cafeteria incident. The cafeteria worker was spooning out the potatoes, person after person, until one boy screamed bloody murder and caused everyone to freeze. The lump of mash potatoes had been spooned so that it was touching the meat on the boy’s plate. “I’m sorry, I should have warned you,” the boy’s mother apologized. “He can’t have one thing touching another on his plate. He’ll need a new plate. There’s no fixing it, trust me. He has to have clean spaces of plate between the food items…”

    I don’t wish any harm to the boy, but he was holding up the cafeteria line with his particularness (word?)

    • December 12, 2012 9:35 am

      You glossed over the notion of standing Dave up and shooting him.

      Not sure. why? Sounds pretty “not moderate” to me.

      That said, I don’t agree with all that Dave says and I consider myself a Libertarian. So what? His basic posture is that government should be limited and effective and personal liberty is very important.

      How is that a bad thing?

      • December 12, 2012 11:14 am

        Regardless of what the issue is exceptions – particularly to principles, or laws are not something we bandy about willy nilly.

        We do not say 2 + 2 = 4 except whenever we do not like that result.
        Or planets all orbit on the same plane – except when they don’t.

        Legitimate exceptions must have a strong rational basis.

        Institutions start from rules and principles, exceptions should be rare and strongly justified. Arbitrary discretion belongs to individuals not institutions.

        There is a long history of philosophical, legal, and economic thought from atleast Hayek, through to John B Taylor demonstrating that institutional discretion consistently fails.

      • Pat Riot permalink
        December 12, 2012 11:21 am

        All of human history is filled with groups lining up other groups and shooting them or loading them onto train cars or burning their straw huts based on ideas they thought were right or based on selfishness and plunder. That is what I want to avoid for our future through rational discussion. The misunderstanding and ignorance that we wallow in is taking us down again. The divisiveness in our nation is misunderstanding. There is truth on the left and there is truth on the right. Freedom and liberty are essential, most important, but they don’t operate within a vaccuum. Totally free markets will not ensure our survival. Just as we need doctors and carpenters to know their trade, we need society and rules to keep us from all-out dog eat dog. Just as we need farmers and biologists, we need the Thomas Paines and Thomas Jeffersons to steer our ideas of society and the mayors and judges and inspectors to help sustain our good ideas until we realize the needed improvements. Business and industry can operate better within a society. They don’t operate very well in chaos. Asmith gets people’s goats because he always comes back to his absolute principles.It frustrates discussion. It takes a lot of words to explain these things. I don’t want to be a long-winded bore in this format. I appreciate the discussion here, including Dave’s, frustrating as it can be.

      • December 12, 2012 11:47 am

        That said, freer markets are better than cluttered ones. In this regard, I think we need to keep pushing back against the statists here and everwhere. The fact is that even in health care (your choice of market) the markets are regulated in the extreme and are rigged to favor the entrenched over the innovators. The result? Higher prices, lower responsiveness and general dissatisfaction all around.

        The statist response? More regulation!

    • December 12, 2012 10:36 am

      Pat;

      I have no problem with “exceptions”, but you are not arguing that the rules and principles are not absolute, that there are instances where they do not apply or work properly What you are asking is to transform the rules and principles into arbitrary discretion. That is not rational or reasonable exceptions.

      In your example – is the boy in question “entitled” to a new plate of food because he will wig out otherwise ? I have no problem with his mother, or any other private actor chosing to accomidate the child (or not). But I have a major problem with government dictating by fiat that any child pissed because his peas touch his meat is entitled to a new plate.

      Free individuals can do as they please – so long as they do not initiate violence towards others. To me that seems infinitely broad lattitude to accomplish any accomidation or exceptions you wish. We are each individually free to make whatever choices we want whenever we wish. We are also free to pool resources with other like minded individuals to again act in any non-violent way that we please. I think that accomidates every exception you can possibly immagine.

      Further I would absolutely agree with you that the majority of problems can not be solved by one size fits all solutions. Which is precisely why they can not be solved by government. Equal protection of the law requires one size fits all solutions. Murder is illegal. It is not illegal only if you are black, or legal if you are rich. The crime is legally defined and if your acts meet the required elements of that crime then you are guilty without exception.

      Within the world there are billions of people who could benefit from my help. I can not personally help but a few, all of us collectively do not have the ability to do much for very many. We must each make our own choices. We must decide how much of what we have we are willing to direct to helping others, we must each decide how to most effectively direct whatever assistance we wish. We will not each make that choice the same.
      Voluntarily organizing our efforts will likely make them more effective and more efficient. Being forced to do so is theft, slavery and immoral. Little good is likely from bad seeds.

      As to other exceptions – sure when they have a rational rather than whimsical basis. I firmly beleive in bright line boundaries defining legitimate government action – whether the issue is social security or when a police officer can search your home. i do not believe that government may exercise discretion – government may not allow white people to commit murder, but prosecute blacks. Freedom, discretion belongs solely to individuals.

      but I have no problem with rational exceptions – you may not kill another person – except in self defense. A rule, with an exception, that makes logical sense. Many rules have exceptions. Where possible the rules government follows and imposes should not have exceptions, but when logically based some exceptions may be necessary But exceptions have to be justified. We can not say little boys who do not like there peas touching their meat can throw away the food someone else provided and get more.

      If you want an exception to rule or principle, propose it and justify it. The problem of statism is we skip that and just presume there are no rules that government can act however it pleases, or according the the whim of whatever group has gained control of government power.

      Read the first few paragraphs of the declaration of independence. They are an extremely eloquent and efficient expression for the entire social contract, They define the purpose and role of government. they provide a basis for determining legitimate and illegitimate government.

      If you think a broader role for government can be justified – then do so. If you want an exception actually make your case. Make a logical, ethical, philosophical and moral case, not an argument that the ends justify the means. Explain precisely why each of us must sacrifice even a little of our individual liberty in return for whatever benefit you are offering.

      Those that give up essential liberty to purchase some temporary benefit, will lose both.

  53. December 12, 2012 11:42 am

    jbastiat;

    Getting labels right is important. We have enough accusations of extremism floating arround here

    I am most definitely not an Anarcho-capitolist. i am sympathetic to their views, but my personal views are minarchist. Lockean, Jeffersonian. I am not prepared to accept that we can create a workable society without any government – even though I do not think those making those arguments are lunatics.

    I believe that both history, human nature, nature, and morality dictate that government be limited to protecting citizens from violence. But I do accept the Lockean Social Contract, and that can not be reconciled with any form of anarchism.

    • December 12, 2012 11:51 am

      Fair enough. I would share many of your views but that said, I am likely older than you and a bit more cynical about how probable it is to get there.

      • December 12, 2012 11:42 pm

        54
        Who said I thought we were getting there easily ?

  54. December 12, 2012 11:51 am

    BTW-I have no problem with the anarcho folks. Yes, they are a bit much but highly entertaining and thoughtful. I like Rothbard’s kid a lot.

    • December 12, 2012 11:43 pm

      No problem with Anarcho-capitolists either. Just not where I am.

  55. Pat Riot permalink
    December 12, 2012 12:11 pm

    Yes we are definitely over-regulated and much too statist at this point in the American experiment. I experience the over-regulation first hand as many Americans do. Business and Industry can’t operate well within over-regulation and it can’t operate well in chaos. Striking a balance has often eluded us human animals, but there are many examples where some amount of regulation helps raise all the boats in the harbor, just as self-interest capitalism can also raise all the boats in the harbor.

    I think I often come across as a youthful idealist in my quest for mutual understanding and for everyone to work together, but I am 50 years old and have been blue collar, white collar, and no collar during my varied experience, and have come full circle through sarcasm and bitterness to see the sunshiny possibilities amidst all our crazy ignorance. What better hobby to have than working to save our country and our world for posterity!

    You occupy a valuable postion here at TNM – some number of paces toward center from the anarcho-capitalists!

    • December 12, 2012 12:30 pm

      Thanks, I try!

    • December 12, 2012 11:45 pm

      We all have interesting journey’s

      So what is the example of good regulation that has lifted all boats ?

  56. December 12, 2012 12:12 pm

    Pat Riot

    “All of human history is filled with groups lining up other groups and shooting them or loading them onto train cars or burning their straw huts …”

    Absolutely – all done in the name of the state, the common good,

    How many people have been harmed by greater freedom ? How many by stronger government ?

    There has never been a capitalist death camp.
    The worst things man has ever done to their fellow man have nearly all been done using government power.

    Libertarian-ism is not about left vs. right. Contrary to far too many here, libertarians fall squarely in the center of the left-right axis. We are anti-authoritarian and pro-freedom.

    We are opposed to big government conservatives and big government liberals.
    Once upon a time there was such a thing as a small government liberal.
    Much of the 60s were an anti-government anti-establish revolt.

    What group today is consistently opposed to the US interfering in the affairs of other nations and starting wars that are not clearly in our self interest ?

    What group today consistently champions freedom ? Freedom for Gays, Open government, an end to the war on drugs, …..

    The left and right are both clearly wrong on our most important values.

    The left and right are both seeking a stronger government to accomplish their own statist agenda.

    One of the problems at TNM is that so called moderates see only one political axis. They do not grasp that limited government is NOT a left right issue. That authoritarian and libertarians are on a different axis. That libertarians tend to support the right more than the left, because todays liberals are more statist than liberal.

  57. Pat Riot permalink
    December 12, 2012 12:51 pm

    Dave, on this political chess board you have just placed your black Queen one space diagonal from one of my white pawns! You just said above that all of that violence through history was done in the name of the state and common good. No, no. SOME and MUCH of the violence has been done in the name of the state and common good, but not ALL. Your absolutism undoes you.

    There are more ways to harm another human being than coming at them with a knife or with a candlestick in the library!

    Mr. Frick the prick hired the Pinkertons who gunned down those steel workers who were being forced to work six 10 and 12 hour days. Those hard-working Pittsburgh fellas would’ve put in the hours if it were not a slow death. That was done for capitalistic greed. I know you will say they just should have exercised their freedom and gone somewhere else and let others have no life.

    How about the Erin Brockovich story where the toxic sludge was causing birth defects in an entire town? That was probably just a bunch of people trying to win a lawsuit and the company wasn’t doing anything wrong.

    My own grandfather died of asbestosis with twelve other guys and Ralph Nader himself helped show that the company had documents on file regarding the risks of asbestos, but didn’t inform the workers. No dust masks. No gloves. Don’t worry, more production will raise our standard of living. That chemical company is still doing fine even with some safety measures in place.

    The Autobahn in Germany with no speed limits. They shovel and squeegie the bodies up after accidents there. It’s one thing to have the freedom to choose your own speed limit, but what about the other drivers? Is it a good idea to have cars screaming by at 120 mph? How about on all roads? That doesn’t mean 60 mph limit is perfect, nor 55. We put somethingn in place that we can live with, to save us from ourselves and others, and we could amend it based on evidence if our government hadn’t been taken from us.

    There’s private and there’s public.Lots of freedom in private. Lots of freedom in public too, but some restrictions.

    When you hit “post comment” you took your hand off the queen. She is alongside the board now! Be a good sport, Dave!

    • December 12, 2012 1:07 pm

      It is fair to say that the massive crimes of the past (genocides, wars, conflicts,etc.) have all been conducted under some form of state sanction.

      Hence, one has to be very careful how much power we hand over to these birds.

      • Pat Riot permalink
        December 12, 2012 1:26 pm

        Religion, ideology, state sanction…did the people take to the streets and demand those wars? Who was pushing at the top? Was there anything to be gained by some? Good Lord, companies manufacturing tanks and anti-tank rockets. God help us. Not saying there were not wars fought in self-defense and for just causes.

        Founding Framers wanted us all to be able to hold on to our own power. Don’t tread on me! Beautiful, man.

      • December 12, 2012 1:38 pm

        It depends. As I understand it, Teddy Roosevelt instigated the Spanish-American war because he wanted to see action (might be true, who knows?). Also,many feel Roosevelt ignored the Japanese threat so that he had an excuse to move into WW2. Lyndon Johnson and Vietnam? Sometimes it is just hubris.

        I can tell you I was not one who wanted to go to VN.

      • December 13, 2012 12:33 am

        Pat;

        Yes, Hitler, Stalin, Mao Pol Pot, all tools of the corporate plutocracy
        QxP, QxP, Qxp, QxP.

        Washington cautioned us about getting involved in the affairs of other nations.

        our founders did not want a standing army – that limited government thing.
        Really hard for arms makers to take over government when the government does not even have a standing army.
        Oh, but limited government’s not your thing.

    • December 13, 2012 12:08 am

      Please read what I actually wrote. The “all” was not all violence ever done, but all in your examples of your examples.

      I have never claimed that all business owners are angels, only that there is no reason to presume that there is a greater proportion of angels in government.

      Regardless, stopping business owners, or pinkertons, or union thugs or anyone else from using violence is the legitimate role of government.

      As to Brockovitch – if a business actually does something that harms others it should pay.
      But check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erin_Brockovich atleast according to Wikipedia none of her cases actually demonstrated anything unusual – though she did win apparently win once.

      Asbestos – again, if a business actually harms others it must pay for it.
      Though I would note the long term risks of asbestos exposure are pretty much the same as smoking cigarettes, and lots of people do that voluntarily. Further combining asbestos exposure and smoking actually increases your risk exponentially.

      The German Autobahn is generally considered significantly safer than the US interstate system. Dead is dead. I suspect the odds of surviving an accident at 70mph are little better than at 120mph. If we all drove 20mph we would cut traffic fatalities to nearly nothing.

      I think my Queen is one space diagnally BEHIND one of your white paws, perfectly safe – but your pawns might be in trouble.

      • Pat Riot permalink
        December 13, 2012 8:18 am

        Amidst a few distractions above, you make another admission: you said: “Regardless, stopping business owners, or pinkertons, or union thugs or anyone else from using violence is the legitimate role of government.”

        A better word than “violence” is “harm” because harm can be surreptitious and slow and not so outwardly violent, but still lethal, still deadly. And in order to stop some of the harm we have regulations. Not all regulations are good, but some are. And they are put into place and maintained by people in government. So government is needed as more than just police and military to stop violence. And government is aunt Lisa and uncle Harry and your neighbor’s kid, who can make good decisions or bad ones, but government is not some inherently evil concept.

        And working for the “common good” is often quite obvious. It’s not a science and often doesn’t have to be. Sometimes it’s not clear what the common good is, and then we take our best shot and adjust.

      • December 13, 2012 9:03 am

        One should err on the side of non-interference. The US can hardly be accused of doing that.

  58. Pat Riot permalink
    December 12, 2012 1:16 pm

    And I LOVE factories and industry, and POWER. I videotaped the ink changeovers at the Crayola marker factory near Easton, PA–awesome the way those machines assemble magic markers. Videotaped at the Energizer Battery Co in Missouri as WorkTask Media, my own company, (but too easy to duplicate cheaper with cheap camcorders, so I moved on out of that). Kicks ass in there to power our flashlights and devices. Lucky enough to videotape start-up and shift change procedures in dozens of factories. Proud of all that industry. So I’m not an industry-hating, tree hugging left, not an industry-halting “common good softie” like Ayn Rand’s extreme characters. There just needs to be some moderation in what’s allowed so it doesn’t uneccessarily harm people. This was just me protecting my pawn from counter-attack.

    • December 13, 2012 12:15 am

      The question is not whether occasionally some businesses will take dangerous short cuts. It is how do we address that problem.

      We do not have regulations to assure that muggers conduct their business safely, fining them if they rob you in an unsafe manner. We have laws that punbish them for actually harming people.

      regulation is prior restraint. It is a presumption that the omniscient state knows ahead of time the one and only best way to make things safe. But the existing laws that hold people responsible for the harm they do, allow us to explore all possible ways to accomplish something – so long as we do not harm others, and hold us accountable when we do.

  59. December 12, 2012 5:15 pm

    So, what do the TNM moderates think about the Right-to-Work battle going on in Michigan?

    My take…the unions had 2 ways to react: 1) they could accept that this is what would best help the economy and job market of Michigan and focus their efforts on how best to retain union membership in a non-mandatory dues environment, or 2) they could go completely batshit over-the-top crazy violent, blame this on rich people, and vow to seek vengence on Republicans in Michigan in the same way that unions in Wisconsin went after Walker.

    Not surprising that they chose door #2.

    I understand the fear and anger of knowing that you might lose your well-paying job. I understand that most of these workers are being told that, once the right to work is in force, Most of the rank and file workers are being told that collective bargaining agreements will cover the new non-union workers, and they are furious about these potential “free riders.”

    Aside from the fact that this is not necessarily true – the NLRA allows for “members only” contracts – isn’t is kind of ironic that this is almost the same argument used by the tea party against taxpayers subsidizing the welfare state?

    • December 12, 2012 5:18 pm

      Oops, sorry about the clumsy wording there…decided to phrase it differently, but didn’t delete all of the original.

    • December 12, 2012 5:39 pm

      If the union provides real value, I don’t see any threat to worry about. If not, big trouble for organized labor. Given the macro trends of union membership over the last 30 years (non-public unions that is) I see doom ahead.

      Interesting this is being done in blue state Michigan.

      • Rob Anderson permalink
        December 12, 2012 5:53 pm

        Same shit that was done in Wisconsin, by the usual suspects: the Koch Brothers and their front groups. That they would choose to do this in the state that birthed modern unionism (the Flint sit-down strike) is not at all a coincidence.

      • December 12, 2012 7:31 pm

        The Koch brothers couldn’t buy their way through this issue. Moreover, the same thing is going down in RI in the form of public union pension reform being pushed by a Democrat. Money talks, nobody walks!

      • December 14, 2012 1:16 am

        I would greatly appreciate a credible rational explanation for why non-union workers should be forced to pay union dues, join a union, and why employers should be forced to collect union dues ?

        I can’t even understand why a special law needs passed to make stealing illegal ?

        There is a difference between beleiving that unions are legitimate and employees have a right to organize, and granting unions governmental powers.

      • December 14, 2012 8:53 am

        there is no rational theory to explain forced unionism.

        There is only the theory of power and greed. Imagine, someone who loves unions being associated with those two motives!

    • December 13, 2012 12:18 am

      Got no problem with unions.
      Got a major problem with requiring someone to pay unions dues if they don’t want to.

    • December 13, 2012 12:22 am

      No problem with unions.

      But major problems with government unions.

      “All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service.” FDR

    • Ron P permalink
      December 13, 2012 12:34 am

      Michigan unions brought this upon themselves. It was not promoted by any conservative for the most part, in fact the governor made clear he had no intention to bring this up and was focused on the economy. Then the unions spent months pushing for a referendum that would amend the states constitution that would make it impossible for the state to take away bargaining rights for state workers. That legislation was defeated overwhelmingly and the right then knew they had the support of many in the state and also showed that the unions influence in the state was waining. That legislation was defeated 58% to 42%.

      With this result, the state legislature and the governor decided it was time to introduce legislation that would make Michigan a right-to-work state.

      I look forward to following what happens with membership when members are able to terminate their membership. But more important, when the legislature and governor get democrats in office, you can bet your last dollar this law will be reversed.

      • December 13, 2012 9:01 am

        Giving workers the right to not join a unions sounds like an issue of freedom of association and democracy. Why wouldn’t the liberals be all over this to support such a notion near and dear to their hearts.

        Paradox, no?

      • December 13, 2012 1:26 pm

        i do not understand personally how mandatory union membership ever passed constitutional muster.
        Worse still is manditory Union dues collection for all workers even ones not members of the union,
        And then there is employer collection of union dues.

        I have no problems with Unions. I want government as far out of the negotiation between unions and management as possible.
        Outside of government I want employees as free as possible to form unions – but I also want they equally free to leave.

        I also want to see Unions negotiating for their employees not for the union itself. Union benefits should be offered by the unions not by the employer, unions should negotiate for wages, and working conditions. They should collect dues themselves, and union Benefits should be paid by union dues, and accountable to union members.

        Today we have employers paying unions huge sums that employees never see for various union benefits, that are mismanaged and insolvent, and somehow the employer ends up on the hook for union mismanagement of benefits.

        Unions need to return to their core business – serving employees.

        I also get ticked at this constant meme that the big union 50’s were so great and built the middle class.

        Actual US union history is full of Racism. The 50’s were only good compared tot he 40’s, and 30’s and not to any subsequent time, and mostly they were a good era for an exploding middle class made mostly of white, white collar workers – mostly not union. White Blue collar workers did better in the big union era, but they were not the middle class, and they did so at the expense of minority blue collar labor.

        Even today many unions are a last bastion of segregation.

        http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/The-312/October-2012/Rahm-Emanuel-Trade-Union-Racism-and-the-Burden-of-History/

  60. December 12, 2012 5:40 pm

    PS-If the faculty at my U formed a union, I would likely join. Funny, no?

    • December 12, 2012 6:25 pm

      I was a member of the teachers union for 10 years. No question that, once they started using job actions and strikes, salaries and benefits improved dramatically. Equally no question that the union protected loads of bad teachers….in fact, most of the union leadership were bad teachers ( I don’t know if that was just in my district, but it was definitely the case). I think that, if teachers were given an option to join the union or not, there would still be many teachers who would choose to pay the dues, if not joining meant that they had to negotiate your own contract, hire their own lawyers in a conflict, etc. But, there would be a lot of good teachers who would see if their superior skills could get them a better deal than the union would…especially young teachers at the bottom of the pay scale.

      The problem with unions is that they have become power hungry and corrupt, not that they are worthless. No one should be forced to join a union in order to get a job, that’s my feeling.

      Rob, what do the Koch brothers have to do with this ( I’m serious, I don’t know much about them, other than that all liberals hate them)?

      • Rob Anderson permalink
        December 12, 2012 6:59 pm

        The Koch Brothers have poured tens of millions of dollars into local, state and federal political campaigns over the last ten years. Their money is beginning to bear fruit, as you can see in Michigan and Wisconsin. In this case, the Kochs’ money bought Tea Party candidates victories in the Michigan statehouse and legislature, such that when they said “Time to pass right-to-work!” their running dogs barked and acted accordingly.

      • December 12, 2012 7:35 pm

        Yes, and they backed Romney. You know how well that turned out. As we have seen, the right cannot buy elections. The trick is to appeal to the 47% and that works very well.

        When you rob Peter to pay Paul, you can always count on Paul’s vote.

      • December 12, 2012 7:33 pm

        What the unions want is a monopoly that forces employees to join. That is kind of a dead give away on how they view their “members.”

      • December 13, 2012 12:25 am

        About 1/3 o the koch’s enterprises are unionized, and they have not had a strike in over 15 years.

        But aparently spending your own money to advocate for your own values is immoral – unless you are liberal.

      • December 13, 2012 8:59 am

        Bingo. I dare say that the Koch Brothers have been outspent by George Soros (still under indictment for fraud) and not a peep out of the Libs and Progressives about that.

        Imagine!

  61. Pat Riot permalink
    December 12, 2012 9:26 pm

    Interesting in the construction trades in the USA, at least 1980’s to present, that the unions do the commercial side of things and the non-union do the residential side of things.So the unions do the high-rise buildings in the metro areas, and the non-union stick frame and finish the housing developments in the burbs. This is almost entirely true for the carpenters. Sometimes the plumbers and electricians on the residential sites are union schooled and then go work for a non-union contractor. But interesting how union and non-union staked out their territory and co-exist.

    • December 12, 2012 10:53 pm

      I live in lancaster Pennsylvania – building construction – both residential and commerical is huge here. construction firms from here serve much of the state and well beyond.

      Not one is unionized. i can not speak for the rest of the country, but in central pennsylvania commercial construction is non-union.

      Lancaster firms have tried to break into the Philadelphia construction market, but the process tends to involve the destruction of equipment, and occasionally having construction foreman beaten with baseball bats. In one instance a contracter was murdered.

      I have been personally involved in public construction accross about a dozen counties, and into 2 other states. Again not a single union contractor on myriads of school and other public projects.

      But there are quirks to public projects in PA – union or not all public projects must be done using “prevailing wages” this is a wage scale publish by the PA department of labor that purportedly is wage averages for jobs accross the state, but in reality appears to be the highest rate paid in philadelphia or pittsburg in the past year for any position. Prevailing wages are egregiously high and it is estimated that the average public school in PA would cost 30% less without prevailing wages.

      Essentially PA Public works are done by non-union labor but at union wages.
      Because even forcing non-union contractors to pay union wages does not make union shops competitive.

  62. December 12, 2012 10:44 pm

    The wonderful benefits of all that environment regulation:

    Rachel Carlson was wrong on pretty much everything, but her legacy lives on in a movement that kills many people by reducing our ability to provide what they need in order to save a statistically insignificant number from chemicals.

    Again the seen vs. the unseen.

    http://cei.org/sites/default/files/Angela%20Logomasini%20-%20Rachel%20Was%20Wrong.pdf

  63. December 13, 2012 1:11 pm

    Democracy vs. Autocracy

    http://charlesrowley.wordpress.com/2012/12/11/democracy-sometimes-may-be-worse-than-autocracy/

    Mr. Rowley fails to address the reason for the disparity. The improvement in a nations standard of living is the consequence of the freedom of those people. Political freedom is only one part of freedom, and even in the realm of political freedom, democracies are NOT inherently more politically free.

  64. December 13, 2012 6:01 pm

    A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

    http://www.thebigquestions.com/2012/12/10/a-little-knowledge-is-a-dangerous-thing/

    For refernece

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coase_theorem

    The Landsburg article only addresses a very Narrow part of Coases theorum – this is an economic theorum as it is extremely broadly accepted. There is reasons it does nto always or perfectly apply, but those reasons generally apply to ambiguous free market conditions that are too complex to resolve. It strongly applies to government regulation where Buchannon leter demonstrated that Coases theorum essentially demonstrates that government regulation MUST fail in all cases. It fails one way in the hypothetical case where transaction costs are zero, and an entirely different way when they are not.
    But regardless regulations fail, they are always on net more harmful that good.

    This is not some anarcho-capitolist position, Ronald Coase is an extremely well regarded economist and nobel economics prize winner specifically for the coase theorum.
    Buchannon is another will regarded economist and nobel prize winner for his work on Public Choice theory – the application of economics to political science and government.

    I get somewhat peeved when posters here try to claim that libertarianism is just some extremist ideology.

    It is an ideology, rooted in individual liberty. But almost three hundred years of the development of political economic theory has solidly buttressed it Even Keynesian-ism though a modern failing divergence is rooted in classical liberalism.
    Aside from real socialists every other modern economic school is rooted in the Scottish enlightenment, Adam Smith, classical liberalism
    Keynesianism as an example diverges only in claiming that under special circumstances Says law may not apply.
    Say’s law generally is that “products are paid for by production”. this is the foundation of the relationship between GDP, the wealth of nations, and standard of living. While it has far broader applications than that and is at the root of the laws of supply and demand, personally i think it is patently obviously true. It is the economic equivalent of genesis 3:19 ” by the sweat of your brow you will eat your daily bread”
    The fundamental problem with keynes is that he believed in magic. He believed that you could create bread by eating. He also believed essentially that all production was equal. That it did not matter what an economy produced so long as it produced. But value is determined by need and want, there is no such thing as intrinsic value. If gold grew on trees it would have little value. The more of something there is the less powerful our need or want of it and hence its value.

    This matters because government takes through debt, taxes or inflation resources that would have mostly been directed in approximately the proper proportions at our current needs and wants and directs them based on the whim of legislators and regulators.
    The ARRA failed because it is not possible for government to know where resources really need to be directed. Arguing that is true is essentially arguing that the perpetual failure of socialism is merely because of inadequate technology or poor leaders. That later might be true, but getting leaders that can direct resources to the widely varied wants and needs of 7 billion people better than the markets is practically by definition impossible. Government can never have enough knowledge, and like the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, the actions of government distort the signals needed to know how to direct resources.

    When governemnt creates a false signal to shift the allocation of resources Such as the CRA legislation propelling (sometimes gleefully) banks and mortgage companies to make more loans (particularly to sub prime markets), or Federal reserve interest rate policies that poured gasoline on an already overheated credit market, you will get an artificial boom. And when ever you get an artifical boom, you will get a bust.
    The larger the boom, the larger the bust. Worse still the longer the life of the asset the boom is in, the longer the market will take to clear – housing is an abysmally bad place to have a bust – as we are experiencing.

  65. December 13, 2012 7:26 pm

    Well, here is why Texas will remain an interesting place to live and work!

    http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/335522/10000-degree-katrina-trinko#

    • December 14, 2012 2:49 pm

      The secrecy was stupid. You can not move US troops secretly, and you just look bad trying to.

      Otherwise whether I am troubled depends on where we go from here.

      Syria is likely to collapse soon. For the most part I think we should stay out of that. It is increasingly likely they will have a government not especially to our liking. Again their problem.

      But they are in possession of chemical weapons in violation of UN resolutions.
      I do not personally place a great deal of stock in UN resolutions,
      But I could probably persuaded to consider allowing US troops to enter Syria as the government collapses and secure and remove the chemical weapons.
      So long as that is all we do and we get the hell out.

      I am actually “ideologically” opposed to even that. But our government is not making foreign policy decisions based on my values, and better to see them scoop up the chemical weapons now, than to deal with the even more stupid actions we are likely to take later, should they fall into the hands of terrorists.

      Further there is evidence that Syria has converted many of their chemical weapons from long shelf life precursors to active components that must be used quickly.
      I am not opposed to a strong US Military presence on the syrian boarder sugesting that using them would be a very bad idea. Syria is now in a use it or lose it situation with atleast some of their chemical weapons stock. Not a good place to be.

      • December 15, 2012 9:50 am

        US foreign policy projects weakness, secrecy and indecision. Our enemies all throughout the world have become emboldened (e.g. N. Korea).

        I agree, not a good place to be.

  66. December 15, 2012 11:07 am

    Seize the crisis for political gain. They haven’t even buried the children yet. Disgusting!

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/dec/14/dem-lawmaker-get-gun-control-obama-must-exploit-sh/

    • wilma permalink
      December 15, 2012 11:53 am

      Along the lines of Rick’s title, there truly are two nations in the USA and both view the other’s worldview with complete and equal disgust.

      Ideology, sowing discord and hate, roughly since the time when religion began to somewhat subside in that ability in the western world,

      Humans will always divide themselves into at least two groups and make war on each other in various ways.

      I’ll tell you with certainty that if every left of center person disappeared from America within a year the newly formed right of center nation would fracture into at least two parts that would despise and fear each other as warmly as they now loath liberals. That would work out just the same if it was the right of center that disappeared.

      Convert ideologues into moderates, somehow, don’t ask me how, and we could get something done.

      • December 15, 2012 12:02 pm

        Humans are tribal indeed. That seems baked into our genes. That said, our cognitive skills are impressive and malleable. This is where leaders come in and where the ability to point to our common interests is important. That is why I hold Obama in such contempt. This ass clown seems to go out of his way to alienate and parse out the electorate based on income, skin color or whatever else he can use at the time.

        His number one job (IMHO) is to help make American one tribe to the degree that can happen.. That doesn’t happen when the boss thinks it his job to divide and conquer.His latest trip to Michigan to give boost to the union thugs was simply appalling.

        It is going to be a long four years.

      • wilma permalink
        December 15, 2012 12:26 pm

        And yet, a large majority of Americans do not hold your opinion on Obama, a group that includes many intelligent and decent and well-informed people.

        Why not make an effort to remove your tribal lens and see some shades of gray?

      • December 15, 2012 12:52 pm

        I could say the same about you. It would take me a few minutes to list from memory the many times this dumbass POTUS took a divisive position on an issue that could have been ignored or used as a way to bring Americans together. He has simply been a total failure in this regard and one doesn’t need to be partisan to see this. (Do we remember his comments on Trayvon Martin and his buddy up at Harvard? Nice, commenting on issues when you don’t have all the facts!).

        Now, if you can list the times when he has been a “uniter” by all means have at it. As for the majority of Americans, I will leave that line alone. As we saw in the last election, making statements about what the majority of Americans think and feel is risky at best. Why don’t you restrict yourself to comment on your own tribal lens.

    • Ron P permalink
      December 15, 2012 12:58 pm

      jbastiat..like I posted yesterday to the wrong thread, this will once again show the compete divide in this country, Those favoring complete gun control will push their position, while those favoring to gun control will dig in their heels. And most likely nothing will happen.

      Our country is obsessed with violence. We see the ATT ad where the kids says “one beam does a little damage while two beams causes a big explosion” in answer to an adults question. Violence. We find violent content on TV such a Criminal Minds that has some of the most warped criminal content one can find. Kids spend hours playing Call-to-Duty, Halo-4 or other video games, all violent in content. Most movies that do well at the box office are violent in some manner.

      To find a solution, we need mental health workers, movie excutives, video game producers, TV executives, government leaders, gun producers, the NRA and anyone else involved with violence or associated with violent products to come together and find the cause of the problem, offer solutions and then maybe we will be able to develop programs to reduce the risk of these things happening in the future.

      Right now what will will have is congress sitting in the raised chairs overlooking someone giving evidence before a hearing to make the senators or representatives look important, all while accomplishing nothing, just like always.

      • wilma permalink
        December 15, 2012 1:18 pm

        “To find a solution, we need mental health workers, movie excutives, video game producers, TV executives, government leaders, gun producers, the NRA and anyone else involved with violence or associated with violent products to come together and find the cause of the problem, offer solutions and then maybe we will be able to develop programs to reduce the risk of these things happening in the future.”

        Amen to all of that!

        One does not have to be anti gun to wonder why a suburban woman needed to have enough firepower in her house to do all that damage, with one weapon left behind in the car even. No one needs that amount of firepower unless they are a criminal. When is the last time anyone dealt with a home invasion where they needed 28 rounds to repel it? Its insane that we cannot do something about this on all the levels you mentioned.

        I share your cynicism that anything will change, but you cannot blame people for wanting something to be done. Who should they expect to step forward and do something positive, the NRA? Hollywood? Game industry executives?

        Someday enough people may get angry enough and sustain it long enough to force some concessions, perhaps this will be the time…. We will see.

      • Ron P permalink
        December 15, 2012 1:44 pm

        “Who should they expect to step forward and do something positive, the NRA? Hollywood? Game industry executives? ”

        Wilma, we saw what can happen when we get two opposing views into a closed room when the Simpson-Bowles committee came forward with deficit reduction suggestions. We also are seeing the results of those decisions when politics take over.

        The same can happen with violence, violent content and gun laws if the right leadership is brought forward and politics are not allowed to enter the discussion. This also will have to happen out of the media spotlight until recommendations are developed.

        Then watch the politics take over and nothing getting done, just like the deficit issue.

      • December 15, 2012 2:11 pm

        It would be nice but I don’t see it happening. No matter how many studies that show that violent games and movies impact people negatively, these birds will not change, I don’t believe. Funny, I bet they are the head of the anti-gun movement too!

      • December 15, 2012 2:09 pm

        We can agree on the gaming and film industry. Re the NRA, as I pointed out, the gun is not the issue. We might have been better off if Tim McVeigh thoughts guns were cool. Sick minds always find a way and the game and film makers keep giving them new and inventive ideas to copy.

      • December 15, 2012 2:07 pm

        Indeed, it would help greatly if the game/filmakers (Tarrantino, are you listening) would own up to their role in the matter. I turn TV shows off all the time when the violence becomes clearly gratuitous. Really, do we really need shows like Bones that can be seen by young and/or sick minds?

      • Ron P permalink
        December 15, 2012 5:26 pm

        JB..there is a fine line that needs to be drawn, but where that may be is for a group that is trained in these matters to decide. Your example of Bones being a questionable program is a clear example of how one might view something compared to another. I see Bones as a program that is gross at sometimes, but do not see the actual violence that took place. I do find Criminal Minds being a program that a sick mind has written since it not only provides the outcome of the gross violence, it also shows the perp committing the actual extremely violent behavior taking place that causes the end result of the characters chasing the perp.

        But however we view things differently, one might have a hard time defending the right for video game creators, movie producers and TV excutives to show what they show based on the first amendment, much the same as those defending gun rights using the second amendment.

      • December 15, 2012 7:35 pm

        I am not arguing “rights” per se. I don’t favor censorship but individuals can also self-censor and boycott this crap. For example, I hear a rap song (by accident) the other day and it was disgusting, at best.

        So, not a dime of mine will every go to any rapper. period. Ditto, Q Tarantino. I walked out of his first movie and have not been back since.

        We can also speak out and call this “entertainment” what it is: gross and disgusting.

      • December 17, 2012 7:02 pm

        Ian;

        I do not need more than 1 car – but I have many. There are many things I have that I do not need. Why is need the standard for what I am allowed to have ? Why are you or anyone else allowed to decide what my needs and wants may be.

        So long as I am not actually engaged in harm to others, my needs and wants are no ones business but my own. Whether I choose 5,000 flintlocks or 5,000 barbie dolls.

        “But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security” Declaration of Independence.

        If I am going to take up my duty and throw off such government I am going to have a need for a great deal of arms.

        How many of the great problems of humanity were solved by bringing together all the involved parties analyzing the problem and developing the best solution ? Few if any. Advances are made by individuals or small groups, or they evolve slowly from within. They can not be imposed by force by an uber smart elite from the top – even in the rare instances they are right.

      • December 17, 2012 7:36 pm

        Dave, you don’t need any guns, the Feds will protect you. Wait, that’s right, they can’t even protect children at their schools.

        Forget I said anything.

  67. December 15, 2012 2:10 pm

    PS-it doesn’t help that the Feds think it is cool to shoot terrorists (and others) from the sky via drones. Really? is this the guy who won the Nobel Peace Prize?

  68. December 15, 2012 3:26 pm

    I am not opposed to some reasonable reform of our gun laws. In particular, I believe that the “gun show loophole” needs to be addressed as a major source of illegal trafficking in firearms. The NRA has been remiss, in my opinion, in allowing these “shows” to continue, when they are often thinly disguised gatherings of, not only serious gun collectors, but dangerous felons and terrorists, looking to evade background checks.

    The problem is always the same -politics.

    You have the gun grabbers like Mike Bloomberg (also known for grabbing cigarettes and big sodas) who immediately politicize a horrendous tragedy like this by calling for gun bans. Then you have the gun lovers insisting that no firearms should be off-limits.

    There are no gun control laws that would have prevented this mentally and spiritually degraded person from commiting this crime. Anyone who would shoot his own mother in the face and then cold-bloodedly execute innocent little 5 year olds, is not going to be deterred by gun purchase restrictions. It might be a better idea to forbid media coverage of mass murders, since most of these killers are trying to achieved the notoriety in death that they failed to acheive in life. Only problem is, like gun bans, bans on media coverage are unconstitutional.

    If our politicians did not intentionally try and divide us, I do believe that we could work toward rational solutions. I don’t see that happening until we get leadership that is committed to unifying the country. We certainly don’t have that now. I do see some unifiers on the state level, governors like Hickenlooper, Christie, etc….but they usually have their bipartisanship beaten out of them, once they attempt to succeed on the national stage.

    • December 15, 2012 3:40 pm

      Priscilla,

      You are a wise person, my friend!

      Rich

    • Ron P permalink
      December 15, 2012 5:44 pm

      “I do believe that we could work toward rational solutions. I don’t see that happening until we get leadership that is committed to unifying the country”

      That will never happen in the near future as the way to preserve your job and career in Washington is to be on the fringes of any issue. One only has to look at the number of people that have chosen not to run for additional terms that were moderates and reached across the isle to be a unifing force to see how divisive politics is the answer to a long Washington career.

      And one also only needs to try to find organizations that are specifically designed to stopping violence in all levels of life to see that they are far a few between. Now do one to stop violence to kids, women and guns and a host of websites appear.

      That is why it will be hard to get to the root problem of gun violence as it is addressing the affect of other issues that create the violence while the gun is the tool to carry out the violence.

    • December 17, 2012 7:12 pm

      Pearows;

      Impose all the progressive regulation you wish, there is always a way arround.
      It is now possible for ordinary people to produce a working gun that will pass through airport security using readily available 3d printers.

      There is a business that conducts classes in the manufacture of small arms, attend the class and you will go home with an untraceable handgun you have made yourself, without a serial number and the skills necessary to produce more

      You can not control people by controlling things. It is our acts that are bad, not our property.

  69. December 15, 2012 9:04 pm

    All the pussyfooting blather about gun control and the opposing entrenched ideologies ignores what should be the central question–how do we protect our children, going forward? Taking in to consideration human nature, and the inprecision of long term attempts to apply long term fixes, I suggest the implementation of armed guards at all schools and shopping malls. I’m talking about real guards with substantial weapons and the training to use them. Properly screened combat veterans would be an excellent source of manpower.

    • December 15, 2012 9:17 pm

      Agreed. There have been reports that the reason that there were only 2 fatalities in the Oregon mall shooting was because the shooter was confronted by a concealed carry holder, who drew his weapon. Rather than be shot by a good samaritan, the shooter killed himself, which was probably his plan from the start ( just after many more casualties). If every school and every mall had trained, armed guards, they would be much safer. Guys like Mike Bloomberg, who call for gun bans, are surrounded by armed guards 24-7.

      Long term fixes will be hard to come by, short term fixes are pretty obvious.

    • December 15, 2012 10:25 pm

      It is my understanding that all teachers in Israel are trained in the use of small automatic weapons and have them with them at all times. This might work as well.

      I think all options are on the table.

      • December 16, 2012 10:29 am

        I generally disagree with Nick Kristof, but there are some reasonably good ideas in this piece. He carefully, and, I think, deceptively, weaves in comments about how less guns would mean less violence, but his suggestions on purchase restrictions are not bad.

        http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/16/opinion/sunday/kristof-do-we-have-the-courage-to-stop-this.html?smid=fb-share&_r=0

        My problem with all of these polemics on gun control is the casual deception that is used to lay the groundwork for their position. “It is harder to adopt a pet than to buy a gun”?? That is total bullshit, and I hear similar arguments all the time. He also never brings up the fact that hundreds of gun fatalities are gang related. And I am not sure what seat belts have to do with gun safety, but he draws a false equivalency. And the NRA, although a powerful lobby, is NOT the only reason why there is political opposition to the gun control position. There is also that little matter of the Constitution.

        I also happen to think that proposing gun control legislation in the immediate wake of a horrific mass killing is exactly wrong. There should be a mourning period, a time to process and discuss the options and action should be deferred until emotions have settled. The fact that many gun control activists seek to push legislation in the heat of high emotional reaction to this event makes me automatically suspect of their arguments.

      • wilma permalink
        December 16, 2012 11:31 am

        Restricting guns is truly hopeless.

        Restricting ammunition is not. Everything should be on the table. We cannot live like this.

        Armed guards in schools, yes, even have several teachers trained and each should have a locked vault with weapons for those trained.

        I would restrict the ability of each american to buy more than four rounds without return the casings of the last four rounds. They could be numbered.

        You can’t make this kind of horror impossible but you can make it more difficult and rarer. You can at least try.

      • December 16, 2012 12:53 pm

        That is simply the silliest notion I have ever read. You madam, I assume, are joking. If not, you had better repeat your public school education, as you learned nothing the first time through.

        Really, was that the best thing you could come up with?

      • Ron P permalink
        December 16, 2012 12:56 pm

        wilma, I understand the frustration that those who do not own guns have with the current system. There are issues that need to be addressed in gun laws, but the solution is not totally guns themselves or the ammo that is used in the guns. This is a social issue that will take a complete effort to solve starting with metal issues, socialtal issues and all the way to gun laws.. Just passing laws concerning guns and ammo seems to be a way to create another problem. Cartels controlling guns and ammo much the same as they now control drugs in this country and everyone knows how effective our drug laws are now. When I can go downtown and buy any drug on the street without much chance of arrest, how will it be any different for the purchase of a gun or ammo if that is run by cartels?

      • wilma permalink
        December 16, 2012 3:37 pm

        I have not read any information on how much this kid planned, what little I’ve heard seems to indicate not too much. But there was mom’s private arsenal freely available, it seems, so a bad day, a bad week, poor impulse control… not much planning would be needed with the firepower already in place. The guns seem to have been right there in the home and enough ammo for a small war.

        I do not think that restricting guns or ammo, if it started tomorrow, would save anyone next week. It would have an effect in 10 years, 20 years. Would that be valuable? Do we care about this in the mid future, or just today?

        Priscilla is correct, an immediate effect would be armed guards in public places, not a gun control law.

        The inevitable poll showed up in my reading. Americans are split 50-50, its exact within polling error, between those who want little or no restrictions and those who want a ban or major restrictions on guns. Poll as taken before this, it may be different today.

        Given that at least 50% of Americans connect guns explicitly with this horrific type of mass killing violence, I cannot wrap my head at all around the idea that anyone would be surprised or offended that these people (who include me) react to these continuous and its seems escalating tragedies by acting on what we believe in the first place, that guns and ammo are much too readily available in the USA. It really pisses some people off that we believe this, but we do, inexplicable as that may seem.

        Can anyone name the last US school mass killing that was done by a knife or cross bow?

        If you hear on the news that your child’s school has been locked down because there is a person armed with multiple guns on the premises tell me that this would not be scarier than the news that the person was armed with a knife. This seems pretty obvious, although some people will argue any point.

        This tragedy is horrifying to any decent person of any political viewpoint. What belief, what political principle would you be willing to bend to make a serious attempt to stop it? There ought to be some, regardless of one’s politics.

      • Ron P permalink
        December 16, 2012 5:03 pm

        Wilma, yes there might be a difference in the future if some guns or ammo were made illegal. However, my point I made a couple days ago is gun control is not the complete answer. If we want to change the future, we need a complete change in our view of our constitution.

        The right to bear arms needs to be restricted. In addition to amending the constitution to recognize the changes that have taken place since we used muzzle loaders, we also need to change our rights to freedom of speech. No longer should movie producers be able to glamorize death, much like is depicted in the upcoming seal team movie about the hunt and death of OBL. Movies were not around in 1776 and freedom of speech meant the press and voive on the street corner. No longer should video game producers be able to produce addictive games of violent content that young men play for hours a day and become immune to deaths impact. This also was not envisioned when the constitution was written. All of these issues society has to address.

        Just addressing the gun violence and putting a fix here or there will not fix the problem during most of our lifetimes. A more immediate impact would be seen with less violence in movies, video games and better mental health programs where parents can address the issues and not be forced to file charges as noted in the “I am Adam Lanzas mother article”

      • December 16, 2012 5:57 pm

        If guns were the issue, Iowa would be a battlefield. I can walk in to any gun store and out with an semi-automatic weapon in about 2 hours (of course, I am not a felon). Yet, Iowa has the second lowest murder rate in the nation and that has been so for many a year.

        Move over one state to Illinois, where gun laws are much stricter. Illinois has a murder rate over 500% more than Iowa. So, access to guns MIGHT not be the issue here. Having that cess pool called Chicago might be causative but I am not sure.

        California and NY, famous for their guns laws are only marginally better than Illinois.

        Data sucks, but it is, what it is.

        So, my point is that passing these guns laws may make people feel safe and the pols can claim they did something, but really, do these data suggest that gun laws can be effective?

        I doubt it. One might be better off finding out why these whack jobs feel they have to top th last massacre.

        I am fine about offing themselves, not so fine about the need to take innocents with them.

      • Ron P permalink
        December 16, 2012 6:25 pm

        Could be Iowa has a better family and social support structure than its neighboring state. I always have heard that a gang takes the place of a family for those that join.

        Sad that this is American society, but in many ways could anwser whey other countries that hold family at a high level have much less murder rates than we have.

      • December 16, 2012 7:20 pm

        I am new to Iowa but I can tell, America could learn a lot from “flyover country.”

      • December 16, 2012 5:43 pm

        Wilma, you don’t get out much. There was a college murder the other day wherein a son killed his Dad and one other person with a cross bow. There was a mass attack in China last week with the knife being the mode of attack. There was was Tim McVeigh. Again, with all due respect, you don’t seem to know much about what is going on the world.

        Once again, the guns are not the issue and these loons don’t restrict themselves to using guns. Any implement will do. For once, let’s try to treat the base illness and not the symptoms.

        Oh, and yes, I despise Obama and am clearly not alone in that regard. President Drone, the Peace Prize winner. who is sending F-16s to the muslim brotherhood.

        Way to set an example, Barry.

      • wilma permalink
        December 16, 2012 6:07 pm

        Here is the difference. It really is not hard to understand. Its a silly argument. To you guns are not the issue. To the American political landscape and a good 50% of us Guns are the Issue or a part of it, deny it all you like but you can write guns are not the issue 50,000 or a million times and it still will not be true. When your best argument is to compare an attack in China that killed no one with the Sand Hook massacre you are admitting defeat.

        http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2012/12/22-kids-slashed-in-china-elementary-school-knife-attack/

        “What was supposed to be another day of learning at an elementary school in central China instead turned to one of terror, as a man slashed 22 children and one adult with a knife.
        The injuries were gruesome, and reportedly include cut-off fingers and ears, but this story had a different outcome from the massacre 8,000 miles away in Newtown, Conn. Everyone survived.”

        See the difference?

        Now, provide me a list of all the massacre events of innocent school kids that have occurred in American schools with a knife being the weapon that lead to the body count.

        Strange, all the dead in our American school massacres were killed by guns. By feigning an oblivious state you can state the guns are not the issue to you, yes to you and to a large part of the conservative community, which recommends neither.

      • Ron P permalink
        December 16, 2012 12:41 pm

        “And the NRA, although a powerful lobby, is NOT the only reason why there is political opposition to the gun control position. There is also that little matter of the Constitution.”

        You can also add to that the knowledge of most gun owners who include hunters and those who own guns for protection that never use them other than for target practice that once congress gets its foot in the door, little changes will occur to laws that will finally eliminate the rights that the constitution provides. It only takes 5 SCOTUS justices to interpret what the founding fathers wrote in a more restrictive interpretation and that could lead to only those in law enforcement owning guns.

      • December 16, 2012 12:55 pm

        I don’t belong to the NRA and I have never owned a gun. That said, I like the idea that I can obtain a gun if I so choose. Who believes that it is OK for the government to deny this right of self-protection when in fact, they have made it perfectly clear that cannot provide that protection for me and my family?

      • Ron P permalink
        December 16, 2012 1:06 pm

        Nor do I belong to the NRA. I do own two guns, a shot gun I use occasionally for trap shooting and a 22 rifle that I use for target shooting. I can go through a box or two (50 rounds in a box) of 22 shells at a time and a number of shells for the shotgun.

        If laws are passed today that eliminated all guns from anyones hands, limited ammo from production in the US and even was able to stop all illegal guns from entering the country after the cartels got into that business, it could take another 50-100 years to get rid of the majority of guns owned by citizens.

      • December 16, 2012 12:51 pm

        Liberal pundits like Kristof love to use these occasions to weave a tail. You know, if we had drug use laws, we would have less drug abuse!

        Ah, maybe, but then again, the gang and drug related violence is simply shrugged off. You know, if we had less violent tendencies, people would need as many guns.

        Anyway you cut it, the end justifies the means to these guys. To my way of thinking, the only thing that gun laws appear to do is generate violence. Let’s look at the places where legal gun ownership is most difficult: NY, Wash DC, Chicago. If I live there, as a law-abiding citizen, I probably have a hard time getting a carry permit. The local drug thug of course, has a gun and doesn’t care about the permit.

        Gun laws working there? The data suggests, no. Ah, say the liberals, think how bad it would be without drugs laws.

        There we are, back to square one.

    • December 17, 2012 7:17 pm

      Just allow teachers with permits to keep personal weapons locked in there desk drawers.
      It costs you nothing.

      Security guards (and police) have been known to go nuts and kill innocent people too
      Even teachers.

  70. December 16, 2012 3:33 pm

    A truly frightening look at the lack of resources and support for parents of young people with serious mental illness.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/16/i-am-adam-lanzas-mother-mental-illness-conversation_n_2311009.html?utm_hp_ref=fb&src=sp&comm_ref=false#sb=3061191,b=facebook

    We could be having a “national conversation” about how to identify these potentially dangerous teens and possibly treat the causes of their mental illness. But politicians haven’t been able to figure out how this would help them raise more money or get more votes, so gun control it will be. They’ll give it a snappy name, like “The War against Violence” and it will, no doubt, be as successful as the “War against Drugs” and “The War against Poverty,”

    Over the last year or two, there have been 22 children in China killed in school attacks. They have been slashed by knives and hacked to death by axes and meat cleavers…one child care center attacker went after the children with a box-cutter.They need to have a national conversation about sharp implements.

    • December 17, 2012 7:23 pm

      How do you plan on having this national conversation.
      The experts are no better than the untrained at identifying who will turn violent.

      In general when you decide that some problem requires a coordinately one size fits all imposed solution – no matter how well thought out and benign it fails.

      • December 17, 2012 7:39 pm

        Often, the parents of these trouble children are well, therapists and/or educators.. Indeed, the percentage of therapists gain their interest in the profession by first being a patient, is disturbingly high.

  71. wilma permalink
    December 16, 2012 4:07 pm

    And Bastiat, your response to this has been to say again how much you despise Obama, and to complain about shows you don’t like on TV. So, if my idea was the silliest you have heard, they perhaps you should put down your remote control and get out more often. My idea was not that novel actually.

  72. wilma permalink
    December 16, 2012 5:46 pm

    Ron P.

    You and I are pretty much on the same page. There is no quick fix, our culture worships gratuitous violence, which is deplorable. The problem needs to be attacked on multiple fronts. Politics is not a promising venue and voluntary venues outside of politics are worth at least mentioning and trying.

    As much as it hurts to think of those kids being massacred, my thoughts are with their families, those kids are past pain now, but for their families it will never end, it makes me ill to think about those parents today and the empty rooms in their homes. I think it affects most people the same way as it affects me.

    I refuse to believe that nothing is possible to change this situation. The fact that people react in a knee jerk way when thinking of solutions is better than no reaction at all and just being numb and helpless and giving up.

    Every reasonable fix you or I may mention is quite likely to be Constitutionally questionable.
    One can ask the purveyors of the entertainment filth to kindly think twice, it is at least worth the effort, but not likely to bear much fruit, for every purveyor of filth that take us up on it, a new one will see a market niche and enter it. Constitutionally that %$#@* is protected. When the networks only competed with each other, rather than DVDs, Cable, etc. there was some minimum standard to the level of depravity. But that was already long ago. The average person does not watch violent shows and then commit violence, but a few rare people do not separate reality from fiction well and the filth leads to a good part of this carnage. But try to prove that statistically in court.

    • December 16, 2012 6:01 pm

      Why not economic action? Why not a “movement” to ignore and/or never buy or watch this crap again? Why don’t parents take charge of what their kids are exposed to? My son never had a game boy, Xbox or any other of that garbage. It was simply not allowed in our home.

      Did that mean he didn’t play them at other kids houses? Sure he did. I simply controlled what I could control. Ditto the whole GOTH crap. My son was really clear how well that might have played. We are the parents, we are supposed to set boundaries, limits etc.

      That is the job and at times, not so much fun. That is why so few are good at it.

      • wilma permalink
        December 16, 2012 6:17 pm

        Unless you are expecting a time to come when all parents are good at what they do and no child is so mentally ill that even good parenting does not work, then this story is just your own personal anecdote. These killers are one in a million cases, what about your story is a believable plan to eliminate these massacres? I don’t see any more of general solution in your prototypical “conservative-type” answer of good parenting than you see in my prototypical “liberal-type” answer of limiting rounds of ammo.

        The national divide will continue. Ron P is willing to have an honest shot at bridging it, care to join him?

      • December 16, 2012 7:16 pm

        Yes, Wilma, dodge the issue. Certainly, we should bad all guns (which can’t be enforced) so that the one in a million nut job finds it just a bit harder to pull off his murder/suicide. In the meantime, let you kid do whatever the hell he/she wants. That is freedom, right?

        Right Wilma, it is always a government solution rather than a personal one.

      • wilma permalink
        December 16, 2012 7:36 pm

        I said that? Really? You simply cannot read, or pretend that you can’t to achieve your only real goal on TNM, which is nothing deeper than trying to irritate a liberal somehow, today. Just another online crank.

    • December 17, 2012 7:30 pm

      Wilma;

      You start out properly noting that politics is an unproductive venue and that voluntary approaches should be explored, and then revert immediately to the presumption that only an imposed statist solution is possible.

      We presume a link between increasing media sex and violence and increasing sex and violence. Only problem, both are on the decline.

  73. wilma permalink
    December 16, 2012 6:22 pm

    My reading today of gun law vs. crime statistics today seems to unambiguously show that guns in a general way deter crime, which is however a separate issue from school massacres. Gun-control advocates can choose statistics that support their side as well, a gun owner is 4.5 times as likely to be shot compared with non-owners. Suicide rates would seem to be affected neutrally by gun restrictions.

    Leaving constitutionality out for the moment, the idea of limiting the number of easily and legally accessible rounds one can possess at a time seems to me to be far from stupid as a concept. Not for one moment do I believe that if this were passed today the results would be visible within a year. That is not my goal.

    I have shot every weapon that was commonly used by infantry soldiers as of my nat. guard service term, and grenades (which are impressive). I have no love of weapons for themselves. I’ll confess that one of my daughters and her husband have a small arsenal, but they keep little or no ammo in the house, he is from a military family that loves firing guns. I have my own plans for home defense, its doorage, dogage and weaponage. My weaponage would not be easily used in a killing spree if I wake up in a really bad mood some day.

    • December 16, 2012 7:19 pm

      OK, genius, tell us your plan for how you intend to enforce this ammo law. My brother makes his own ammo. How will you stop this when we can’t even enforce a border law with Mexico from sneaking humans into the county. You think those tiny bullets are hard to transport.

      What a dimwit idea.

      • wilma permalink
        December 16, 2012 7:41 pm

        OK, Genius, right back to you, was I talking about making it impossible for criminals to get bullets at all or was I talking about making it harder for disturbed children to find an easy mega-ammo supply in mom’s closet?

        This has devolved, like usual. You may be an intelligent person in some other context but here you are either feigning idiocy for irritation purposes or your brain truly stops functioning when you discuss anything political.

        Fer Cough Fool.

      • Ron P permalink
        December 16, 2012 11:47 pm

        Sometimes dimwit ideas grow into good ideas. Many products we buy came from stupid ideas people sitting around a table discussed, improved and made into billion dollar products. I can imagine what someone said to Franklin when he said he was going to fly a kite.

        What we need is individuals in the position of leadership to come together and throw out every conceivable idiotic idea possible. They need to throw out every seemingly good idea. They need to use everyone and decide what is the best of the best, what can be used from others and come up with solutions that MAY work. No one knows for sure if they will or not until they are tried. It may be new laws, strengthing existing laws, improving identification methods of people needing help, providing additional mental help to mothers like the one who wrote :”I am Adam P’s mother” or some other idea or combination of ideas. One thing for sure there is a solution, it is just finding it. Political posturing like Barbar Boxer and her reintroduction of the assualt weapons ban will not solve the problem by itself which she seem to think it will.

        Remember, from the story I have heard many times, the man who started Federal Express did not earn more than a C on the project he turned in for his BA degree. (he says he does not remember the grade, so his usual C seems to be right since he does not remeber anything better or worse). That means an idea one person (Professor) discounted became a billion dollar business.

        The same can hold true to most any idea as long as we don’t put them down and ridicule those that try.

    • December 17, 2012 7:57 pm

      The correlation between gun ownership and getting shot came from a study of violence in inner city philadelphia. and it did not distinguish between legal and illegal firearms possession. Essentially the conclusion might as well have been “armed criminals are more likely to get shot and killed than ordinary people”

      http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn17922-carrying-a-gun-increases-risk-of-getting-shot-and-killed.html

      There is also data that says that criminals are 75 to 100 times more likely to die violently than the rest of us.

      Most gun deaths are suicides, the overwhelming majority of gun deaths are from handguns. Most involve 18-24 year olds The overwhelming majority of guns used in crimes are obtained illegally – not through gun dealers or gun shows. Less that 2% of all guns using in crimes are acquired at gun shows,

      If politicians chose to do something about this, they will inevitably chose something stupid – like banning nasty looking guns and calling it an “assault rifle ban”

      • December 17, 2012 8:04 pm

        Fortunately for most of us, we don’t live in the zoo called inner city Philadelphia.

        Praise Jesus!

  74. Rob Anderson permalink
    December 16, 2012 6:28 pm

    My thoughts on massacres in America…

    http://astrandedman.blogspot.com/2012/12/massacres-in-america.html

    • December 17, 2012 7:52 am

      Rob, wasn’t Adam Lanza a rich kid? It seems to me that if economic dislocation, envy and rage were the motivation for this kind of violence, we wouldn’t see upper middle-class white kids from Connecticut committing these massacres – although it seems that those are precisely the kinds of people that are often the shooters.

      It seems that you are saying, basically, that money is the root of all evil. Or at least, capitalism is. And you are remarkably consistent in making that argument, but I just don’t see how it plays out in this case – or in Columbine or Tucson, or in Aurora, for that matter.

      I am more persuaded that mental illness and drug use – of both the legal and illegal type – are primarily responsible for these massacres. It’s easy enough to make the case that, just like the tumor that caused Whitman to snap, certain chemical alterations in the brains of these men have cause them to become depraved killers.

      The worst mass murder that I can recall was the Norwegian massacre in 2011, which happened in a country absolutely committed to social justice and economic fairness, no?\

      • December 17, 2012 8:50 am

        Rob would tend to go there, wouldn’t he. Perhaps he protests too much?

    • December 17, 2012 8:00 pm

      The rate of violence in the UK is (and has been for sometime) about twice that of the US, the injury rate is far higher but the death rate is lower.

  75. December 16, 2012 6:31 pm

    Efforts to shore up mental health care and eliminate the endless flow of weapons designed for the slaughter of humans are laudable and should occur–might even make a difference in a few years. The question for now, though, (as I mentioned earlier) is how do we protect our children NOW? We should start badgering politicians at all levels to install armed guards at all venues where unarmed innocents gather, starting with the schools, and including shopping malls, concerts, sporting events, etc. Properly screened combat vets and retired cops would be ideal. Allowing the dialogue to devolve into a debate on gun control misses the point, and is unproductive.

    • wilma permalink
      December 16, 2012 6:52 pm

      I would be willing to do any reasonable thing, including what you propose, in order to prevent these massacres from occurring. I’ll agree that it would be the most immediate answer, it would still take time to implement.

      But… I don’t see why these types of discussions have to follow the “do this thing that follows my beliefs, don’t do that thing that follows your beliefs” pattern. Do all these things, attack from every possible angle. These answers are not mutually exclusive.

      I believe that this particular tragedy will fade more slowly and will produce more real attempts to attack the problem on multiple fronts than previous tragedies. It just hurts too much to think about this.

      • December 17, 2012 8:08 pm

        Why do we expect that “properly screened combat vets” are not going to whig out and kill people ?
        Even within the military where weapons are actually very tightly controlled we have instances of mass violence.

        Why do we believe there are is an adequate supply of trained mentally stable individuals who would want what is likely to be a not particularly well paying job ?

        Adam Lanza blasted his way through security at Sandy Hook. Armed guards would have been his first target.

        Typical progressive blather. Come up with an imposed solution that sounds good and expect it to magically be viable.

      • December 17, 2012 10:15 pm

        The belief in magic is a staple of progressives.

    • December 16, 2012 7:21 pm

      Too practical. Never happen I am afraid.

      The pols would rather talk than take action, as it is safer for them.

      • Ron P permalink
        December 17, 2012 12:03 am

        Great idea. I am all for guards in schools and other places. So lets see, we add full time employees at lets say the average wage in America, something like $45K to 50K. Now we have to pay for that additional cost. Schools in my area have lost a significant amount of funding over the past 5 years and they are doing a good job keeping up the learning experience for the kids, So with about 100 schools in town, we will add $500K to the educational budget. In order to not take this 1/2 million by hiring fewer teachers or reducing resources for the kids, we will add a penny to the tax rate on each residential structure.

        ABSOLUTELY NOT, WE PAY ENOUGH TAXES ALL READY.(What you will hear from many when this is proposed)

        So the idea to add armed guards is just as dimwitted to some as the idea to limit ammo in some form to others.

        Like I said earlier, there are no dimwitted ideas, just ideas that need to be discussed and evaluated no matter how “dimwitted” they may seem.

      • December 17, 2012 8:49 am

        Check the ratio of administrative salaries to teacher salaries (gross paid as a % of budget). I bet we can chuck a few administrators in the trash can to fund security. I am first in line to vote for that idea.

      • wilma permalink
        December 17, 2012 2:36 pm

        Ron P. Very logical and clear analysis. I’m going to guess that you were or are a manager in some sense, probably a rather successful one.

        I don’t mind being the author of a “dimwit idea.” Its just an attempt by one saddened person to find some sort of sense out of a tragedy on a political blog. Being insulted by some ideological crank about that ranks about 10 orders of magnitude down on the pain level list from having to think about the families of the victims.

        Today, there is a bit more information on the shooter, it fits all of our preconceptions/fears to varying extents.

        The kid was mentally ill and played violent video games. Mom was a rather affluent gun nut/survivalist.

        By the time people do these things most of them are so far gone to mental illness that even calling them evil is an inadequate description. Several times each year such a mentally ill person comes into proximity with weapons and a large supply of ammunition and a has a bad day or crisis and then we read about the carnage on the news.

        We cannot change the fact that some people are mentally ill or that fact that these people will suffer crises, but we can make an effort to change the probability of that middle part, the proximity of the mentally broken person to a weapon and large supply of ammo. Its certainly not all we need to do, but there is nothing higher on the list.

        I note that today one southern senator with an A rating from the NRA stated that he never goes hunting with more than 3 rounds of ammo, the need for more than that is perplexing to him. The ice may be breaking. Stage two of my logic is to legislate the removal of those clips from circulation, at least that may lower the probability that suburban moms with mentally ill children are less likely to have a huge supply of guns, ammo and 30 round clips.

      • Ron P permalink
        December 17, 2012 4:52 pm

        Wilma.

        First, I wonder how many rounds that senator takes when he is target shooting to improve his accuracy so he will hit what he is shooting at with one of the three. And if he does not hit the target with the first two, most likely what he is hunting will be long gone as well as anything close by before he gets off the third. Bet the third one is to finish off the dear, bear, etc if is just happens to be wounded.

        As for the clips, don’t hold your breath, These do not seem to be complicated to make. Most anyone with some mechanical ability and some knowledge of how clips work could make them after some research of how they are made today. Young teenage boys can make about anything if they put their minds to it.

        And then we have the southern border where these things will be coming in in droves once the criminals find they can make millions on the illegal sales of these things. If someone is fearful enough for their lives or is nuts enough to believe they need hundreds of rounds of ammo for protection, they are the ones that will get the illegal stuff on the black market. I bet this lady would have found a way to buy it had it been illegal when she acquired it. That the way people in that mind set think. If she needed hundreds now, she would need hundreds when it is illegal.

        .

      • December 17, 2012 7:29 pm

        Glad you have it all figured out there Wilma. Now, on to the solution, just limit ammo. Prey tell me again, how you will accomplish this. Ideas are cheap and easy, making them work, well not so much.

        First we change the Constitution, then we place inspectors and a whole apparatus in Wash DC, dedicated to well, let see Homeland Security. Then, …….

        Do I have it just about right?

      • December 17, 2012 8:20 pm

        Assuming 100,000 schools, and 3 guards/school that is 300,000 guards.
        That is about 1/4 of all active duty military, and 1/2 of all reserves.
        That is 1/2 of total law enforcement.

        At 45K/year each that is atleast another $13.5B
        The US has been trending toward less than 10 violent school deaths/year.
        If this program was entirely successful, it will have cost $14B.year and had a statistically insignificant effect on the violent death rate even just for school age children.

  76. Ron P permalink
    December 16, 2012 6:44 pm

    http://askmarion.wordpress.com/2012/02/26/columbine-father-12-years-later/

    Interesting reading, especially the speech at the end of the article. Wonder what his position is today.

  77. December 16, 2012 7:25 pm

    Relevant post on Facebook:

    ‎”If we are going to confiscate assault weapons in response to the CT tragedy, might we be so bold as to request that we start by locating and confiscating the thousands of Fast and Furious Scandal assault rifles currently being pointed at US, Canadian, and Mexican civilians and police? These assault rifles, like the ones that killed Agent Brian Terry among thousands of others, were bought for the paramilitary gangs using US taxpayer money and about six different Federal agencies involved. Let’s talk about restricting the Constitutional rights of American citizens, after federal authorities recover the thousands of assault rifles Obama has armed the gangs with first.”

    • December 17, 2012 8:24 pm

      Alcohol causes more teen deaths than guns. Should we ban it entirely ? Oh yes we tried that and created organized crime. Drugs cause more teen deaths than this should we ban then. We have done that two, how well has the war on drugs worked out ? Are we winning yet ?

      • December 17, 2012 10:16 pm

        You forgot automobile deaths. Banning cars can be a possible solution. Buses are much safer.

  78. December 17, 2012 8:59 am

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/12/17/president-obama-leads-interfaith-prayer-vigil-in-newtown-conn/

    Well, it will be fixed now, as Barack said he will make this happen.

    So, OK, here is a prediction. Absolutely nothing will happen in Washington DC on this matter. This appearance is just like when BO went to walk with Chris Christie. Talk to my family and friends back in the NE about how much FEMA helped them out.

    Now, I hope I am dead wrong here and will admit it if that is appropriate. But, I bet I am not.

    Any takers?

  79. December 17, 2012 9:01 am

    How Washington “solves” problems:

    http://www.nypost.com/p/news/national/little_help_here_1kW6aQ8fElj4CKwbheEV0N

  80. December 17, 2012 2:51 pm

    Ron P–Nothing in life is free, and you are right–security isn’t free either. Responsible budgeting has to be all about prioritization. I’m sure it was nice having a psychologist (who is now dead) and a nurse on the staff of the victimized school. It’s easy to see in a circumstance like this one how a security guard would have been money well spent. It’s harder to make the right decisions pre-tragedy– it’s so conservative!

    • December 17, 2012 6:38 pm

      Just allow teaches and staff who have the appropriate permits to chose to keep personal weapons locked in their desk.

      There is no cost to this, you can keep the psychologist and nurse.
      You will still likely end up with incidents like this but there is atleast a chance that they will be less deadly.

      This pattern of young disturbed males engaging in mass murder is not some modern era anomaly, and as we noticed early no limited to the US.

      This is not about politics or guns. It is actually extremely rare, but the nation and the world are growing and our backyard is the world.

      We are dramatically safer in every possible way than we have been in any other time in human history. Violence – both individual and institutional has been slowly trending downward since the first man.

      But we beleif we live in a far more dangerous world, because we hear of every tragic instance that occurs everywhere. If it bleeds it leads.

      It grates against our nature to believe there are problems that we can not solve.
      In the movie “There is something about Kevin” the anti-hero’s climax is a Sandy hook style masacre using Bicycle locks and a bow and arrow. 5 Gallons of Gasoline, or clorox and ammonia are readily available ingredients for mass murder and terror.

      Studies have shown that expert clinical psychologists are no better at deciphering who amount the mentally ill are likely to go on a killing binge than ordinary people.

      At the same time despite public perception violence of all kinds – including this is on a steady decline. The worst US mass school killing was nearly a century ago and involved no guns. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bath_School_disaster

      • December 17, 2012 7:34 pm

        Don’t confuse a liberal with facts, man. They are FEELING bad (of course, no one else has feelings and feels terrible about this, just them).

        This song seems so appropriate, doesn’t it?

        BTW-as the media orgy was going on over Sandy Hook, I couldn’t help remembering that 90% of the news media self-identifies as Democrats.

        Hmmm.

  81. December 17, 2012 7:30 pm

    Ian, I have a question for you (or anyone else who knows more about guns than I do, which is probably everyone)…. you seem to have a reasonable knowledge of firearms and some experience with them.

    What are considered “assault weapons”? I know that it is illegal to own automatic weapons, such as machine guns, so we are talking about semi-automatic weapons, which, in my understanding fire from a cartridge as opposed to a revolver, which fires from a barrel. I assume that the main difference is the time that it takes to reload, which would obviously be longer with a revolver, and the actual number of bullets that can be fired without reloading, which is greater with a semi-automatic.

    Is that the main difference? Is there a difference in the speed of firing? And when politicians talk about banning “assault weapons,” does that include all types of semi-automatic guns?

    • December 17, 2012 7:44 pm

      Irrespective of what gun laws that are passed, the data clearly suggests no correlation between the severity of gun law restrictions and murder rates, As I pointed out the other day, the states with the most restrictive gun laws lead the nation in murders.

      So, I am wondering why anyone thinks that restricting legal gun ownership(or ammo) will somehow save lives. In fact, I suggest the opposite is true. I am pretty sure the bad guys know that virtually everyone in Iowa is armed and knows how to use a weapon quite well. It would be a very bad mistake to attempt a house break-in at an Iowa farm.

      • December 17, 2012 7:57 pm

        Well, I’m not clear on this either, and I’m trying to get a handle on what the argument is. I know that gun control advocates like Rick talk about the number of bullets in a magazine, and how that makes it easier to commit a mass murder. But, in a school where no one is armed, does it make that much of a difference to someone like an Adam Lanza? As long as there is no one else with any sort of firearm, does it matter if he had to reload 10 or 20 or 100 times? That is one of the things that I am unclear about in this whole debate.

        I guess I’m not understanding why prevention of mass murders, which are relatively rare and committed by madmen is being made equivalent to general public safety, as in keeping your home safe from a break-in, or defending against a robber or rapist. And I can’t help but believe that this tragedy is being politicized because of its emotional impact, despite the fact that passing gun control legislation of any kind is unlikely to prevent madmen from doing what they are driven to do.

      • December 17, 2012 8:02 pm

        Well, as I pointed out in another post, Tim McVeigh wanted to make sure he killed many people and did so with fertilizer and a few other bits and pieces. So, sadly, you don;t have to be Einstein to wreak massive havoc if that is your objective.

        As for the finer details of firearms, I will leave that to those more qualified.

    • December 17, 2012 8:38 pm

      Pearows;

      What constitutes an “assault rifle” depends on the law on assault rifles. The past US Assault rifle law was mostly about the appearance of the weapon rather than its use. It was like banning fire streaks on the side of cars.

      There is real evidence that states that implement extremely tight bans on guns of all kinds have lower incidences of violent deaths. But they do not have less violence.

      Further there are already so money weapons in the US that unless you intend to confiscate all existing weapons totally banning the production and sale of new weapons will have negligible effect.

      In the particular instances of mass murders, we are dealing with generally intelligent, highly disturbed individuals who are easily capable of shifting to other means to accomplish their ends. They intend to kill as many people as possible, they are not usually particular about the method used to accomplish that.
      Further, it always seems clear to us after the fact that the killer was extremely dangerous. But there are myriads of individuals with problems indistinguishable from Adam Lanza that never do anything violent. Even experts are no better able to tell which disturbed young adult male will become a mass murderer and which will grow to become a productive member of society.

    • Ron P permalink
      December 18, 2012 12:28 am

      pearows, the main difference in an assault weapon compared to a standard rifle is in addition to looks and functionaity of the stock they use of interchangable detachable magazines that hold any number of cartridges exceeding 10, can fire one cartridge at a time or can be fired just like a machine gun and the magazines can be exchanged in a very short period of time since these weapons are the ones used in combat by our military. They automatically feed the next cartridge with no action other than holding the trigger down by the shooter. Semi automatic weapons require the shooter to pull the trigger each time and worki exactly the same except for that one detail.

  82. December 17, 2012 8:03 pm

    An interesting perspective on public schools and “gun free zones.”

    http://mises.org/daily/2354/Child-Safety-and-State-Failure

  83. December 17, 2012 8:05 pm

    We of course, have to limit kitchen knives too. See below.

    Now imagine if the school teachers were armed when this nut case pulled his knife?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osaka_school_massacre

  84. December 17, 2012 8:09 pm

    This is an appalling summary of school violence around the world. Clearly, this is not just an American problem. Also troubling is the range of implements used to commit the crimes, including automobiles.

    Ugh.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_attacks_related_to_primary_schools

  85. December 17, 2012 8:51 pm

    Asmith–You accuse me of progressive blather for suggesting armed guards for schools and shopping malls, etc.. You throw around meaningless numbers about how many active duty military there are. The number of separated and retired military and cops trained in the use of firearms vastly exceeds the number of active duty. Retired have retirement pensions and can be hired for less. Let’s face it , the job (although really important) would be low stress. Proper screening for the job means exactly that (armed teachers might be even more likely to “whig out”, as you so disrespectfully imply). For a really smart guy, it’s amazing how sometimes you can’t see the forest for the trees.

    • December 17, 2012 10:47 pm

      True, RP, most of the elementary school teachers in my town are young twentysomething girls who love little kids, but many of them seem temperamentally unsuited to being actual bodyguards. You never know, but I’d rather have retired cops guarding the place.

      In general, though this whole gun control discussion seems more and more irrelevant and political to me, the longer it goes on. I mean , if what we want is a guarantee of no gun violence, we have to confiscate all firearms, repeal the 2nd amendment and ban all further sale of any guns to anyone outside of military and law enforcement. But that doesn’t guarantee that there will be no violence or that we will be any safer or less safe than we are now……

      When someone says “I don’t understand why anyone needs a 30 round magazine” my thought is, well, I don’t see why anyone needs a car that goes 140 mph either, but apparently mine can, since the speedometer says so. But no one is advocating for car control, even though we’re probably more likely to be killed by speeding cars than by speeding bullets. So is it public safety that we’re talking about, or something else?

      Eh, we’re dealing with political agendas not with real solutions. It’s so frustrating.

      • December 17, 2012 10:53 pm

        A little over 32K US traffic deaths last year. And, yet, we drive. And some actually drink and do dope and drive and you know how that turns out. Yet, two states just legalized MJ.

        Hmmm. Are their no children killed in cars each year?

        Well, just under a million children are killed in car crashes each year around the world, according to the WHO.

        In the US, the number is about 2,000 deaths per year.

        Very sad, but true.

      • December 17, 2012 11:03 pm

        Exactly. And, mind you, I am not necessarily opposed to making certain types of guns unavailable to the general public, nor do I deny the fact that gun violence can quickly produce a lot more dead and injured in a short time than other forms of violence.

        But it’s this idea that somehow enacting these laws will make our children “safer,” in the absence of any real empirical evidence that frustrates me……

      • December 18, 2012 2:07 am

        Jbastiat;

        The 2,000 children killed each year in cars must not include teens as there are 5,000 of them/year. as well as 400,000 serious injuries – that is more than the number of security guards we would need.

        Regardless, the point – which i think we both agree on is that regardless of the venue – movie theater, school, .. the odds of being the victim of a mass murderer are lower with no precautions, than that of being harmed by whatever measure you take to ensure your security.

        In the US terrorists have killed about 3,000 people in a little over a decade. Less than the teen car deaths in one year, yet we have restructured the entire federal government, passed idiotic laws restricting our freedom with zero actual benefit, allowed oursleves to get anally probed in order to visit family over the holidays – by those well trained and screened security personel who seem to have a disproportionate number of pervs. We have invaded two countries, killed hundreds of thousands of innocents in order to get a few actual bad guys. Sure the bad guys are more willing to gleefully sacrifice their own people than we are – does that earn us the moral high ground ?

        At Sandy point, build a monument for the dead, help comfort the living, clean up the carnage and be thankful Adam Lanza did not survive so that we could relive this over and over for decades.

        At Ground Zero we should have already completed two of the tallest phallic symbols in existance years ago. Giant middle fingers to terrorists around the world. Say’ing FU. You can hate us all you like, not only cant you defeat his, you are barely worth our attention.

        I would not that since 9/11 every attempted terrorist incident involving air travel was stopped by passengers not airport security which is still fixated on whether grandma might have a bomb in her adult diapers.

      • December 18, 2012 9:07 am

        Yes, my data was for ages 0-14. Alas, older teen rates are very much higher.

    • December 18, 2012 1:45 am

      RP;

      Less that 10% of the US population ever served in the military. Less than 2% of the population ever saw combat.

      Some retired cop at the door with a smith & wesson is not likely to stop this. He will just be the first casualty.

      Sure this is a low stress job, the odds of ever having to stop an Adam Lanza are so minuscule that you are certain to be unprepared when one actually shows up. He knows he is coming and that you are there. He has planned ahead, He knows today is the day.
      For you this is just another of the millions of man hours that are put in guarding schools from absolutely nothing in between heavily armed psycho’s walking through the door.

      You can not create a structured defense against this kind of violence.

      You can’t stop this. What you can do is decrease the carnage. You can make it such that with every classroom the Killer enters he has to wonder whether this one will have the armed teacher waiting to pick him off. The advantage in an armed conflict always goes to a prepared defender. A surprised defender is dead regardless of skill and training.

      Armed teachers may well whig out – but we have no shortage of combat vets whiging out.
      I will actually grant you that allowing teachers with proper permits to have weapons locked in there deaths will result in occasional classroom deaths. Probably more per year than Sandy Point. But they will be one or two at a time, and those will not make the national news. We were trending down to about 13 children killed in these type incidents per year at school. 5000 teens are killed in automobile accidents each year – that is 13+/day. We are not going to spend $14B to fail to reduce the number of teens dying in cars. Why should we spend the same amount on a problem 1/365th as serious.

      No disrespect is intended by “whig out”. In the real world it happens. We are all able to see the signs perfectly clearly after the fact, but in the real world we suck at predicting when some mild mannered quiet person will turn into a mass murderer. And the experts are no better than the rest of us – and the really good ones will admit that.
      There have been plenty of incidents within the millitary to demonstrate that screening does not work. Or better put, lets say you hire 300,000 heavily armed school guards, and you successfully screen out 1/2 the latent Adam Lanza’s among them.

      If you have even one left, you are worse off than you were before you had armed guards.

      The advantage you get with the unstructured solution of allowing teachers to chose to bring their own weapons is that it does not matter if one teacher goes on a rampage.
      If one in 4 other teachers have guns the mass murderer whether an outsider, a guard or another teacher, must proceed more slowly or risk getting picked off. Instead of 27 dead you have 5 or 10.

      Frankly I think a problem that is totally unpredictable, and even unpreventable in a police state, with the tiny magnitude of mass killings is not worth losing sleep over
      If you are worried about the safety of your child at school this is one of the least likely ways for them to be harmed.

      Though I do find the mentality of adding 300,000+ armed security guards to schools interesting. First we want to ban guns, when that does not want to work we want to turn our schools into armed camps ? Isn’t there some kind of contradiction there ? I thought the solution to gun violence was less guns not more ? Would it be OK if everyone owned a gun and took it with them everywhere – so long as they were trained and screened ?

      • December 18, 2012 9:13 am

        I don’t know that it is a contradiction, Dave. My understanding is that RP is specifically not advocating the banning of guns, but saying that an immediate fix for protecting school children from armed gunmen would be to have guards at the schools. Politicians and celebrities who fear that they are potential targets for gunmen and/or crazies have armed guards, why not afford the same protective measures to our children?

      • December 18, 2012 4:10 pm

        Pearows;

        My point is that this is an expensive solution to a shocking but otherwise inconsequential problem.

        This is a fundamental flaw of central planning rather than directing resources to the best effect it directs them to address the outrage of the day. Cancer X gets more funding that Cancer Y because it has more vocal supporters, or we spend $14B trying to hire people who probably do not exist while ignoring far more dangerous problems.

        We do not provide celebrities with security guards. They provide their own. Except for a select few we do not provide public security for all politicians – despite that fact that the odds of a politician being shot are greater than that of a student being the victim of a mass murderer.

        It is not critical that we are perfectly efficient in what we pay for – so long as we are making our own choices. But when government takes our money and spends it for us at the very least it must spend what it collects for the greatest good – which is impossible.

        Conversely you may make your own decisions with your own children, and you can make them based on your own preferences and beliefs. You are not required to make the best use of what you spend.

        You may choose to send your child to a maximum security school – if you are paying. You may keep your child home. You may choose not to choose.

        When government makes all choices about our lives – even driven by consensus (which is not actually how it works as demonstrated by PPACA), that is socialism and it does not work.

        Security guards for schools is not actually the hill I want to die on, but it is useful as a timely illustration.

        We can spend alot of money, educate our children in armed camps, all to not solve the problem we were targeting and probably make our children less safe. While ignoring myriads of other real problems where we could actually be more effective.

        That in a nutshell is progressivism.

  86. December 17, 2012 9:26 pm

    Eliminating the federal deduction of state and local taxes would raise $900B/decade in revenue the vast majority from the rich.

    http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/335632/blue-tax-editors#

  87. December 17, 2012 9:31 pm

    Why do moderates continue to believe promises that consistently turn out to be false ?

    http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials-perspective/121412-637253-obama-failed-measure-up-to-own-yardstick.htm

    I can find several skilled economists with data demonstrating that the current weak economy is BECAUSE of the Stimulus.

    • December 18, 2012 2:18 am

      Contrary to popular perception as the violence and debauchery of our movies, Music, games, etc.. increases, the violence of our society decreases. Correlation is not causation, and I doubt there is a causal relationship, but I do not understand why we want to fixate on things were the correlation is backwards from what we believe.

      The world has alot of problems – a few are actually getting worse, but in the overwhelming number of instances – in nearly every way that we think things are getting worse they are actually getting better.

      Yet those few things that are truly unsustainable – inevitably involving big government, them we somehow see as good.

      The odds of you going to retire and discovering government has squandered your social security and medicare, wrecked the economy for decades to do so, and deprived us all of a doubling of our standard of living, are far greater than that you will get cancer because some chemical company recklessly poisoned your food or water.

      Wake up – see the world as it really is.

      • December 18, 2012 2:32 am

        Three times as many people in the US die from lightning strikes as from mass killings.

      • December 18, 2012 9:09 am

        Yet, you don’t see a media frenzy when lightening strikes. In fact, this (lightening deaths) happens all summer here in the great state of Iowa!

  88. December 18, 2012 9:30 am

    Well, that didn’t take long. So, the continuing saga of government banning and not banning things continues.

    http://www.kptv.com/story/20368360/driver-charged-with-dui-marijuana-after-deadly-crash-in-vancouver

  89. wilma permalink
    December 18, 2012 10:01 am

    Lightening strikes?!? I believe most of us take sensible precautions, don’t we?

    Foolish attempts to minimalize this will not succeed and simply discredit their authors. Any normal decent and intelligent person who invests any energy in thinking about why this is not just a trivial statistical rare event will succeed in understanding it.

    Nearly every small child in this country knows something about what has happened. Those that don’t yet will hear from those kids that do. This age group already has a fear of mythical monsters under their bed, now they have gory proof that actual real life monsters exist and hunt children at their schools. They and their parents will now have to add this huge issue to all the other issues of childhood and parenting. Its not a small deal.

    There is no “answer” to this. There are multiple channels of attempts. Those attempts make us human, in the good sense.

    I will not scoff at any well-meant attempt to deal with stopping this carnage, whether it focuses on liberal ideas of the villains or conservative ideas of the villains. Have at Tarrantino, Hollywood, video games, bad parenting, I’m with you, its all important.

    Sadly, disgustingly, the hyper-partisan people are doing what they always do, the one thing in life that seems to matter above all else to them. For them all solemnity was lost within a very short period and now they see this as a sort of great occasion to have at the ideas of how to stop this from the other side of the spectrum. That is just repulsive.

    • December 18, 2012 10:31 am

      I agree with most of what you say, Ian (is the world ending?)….although, I don’t think that all of the people pushing for action are hyper-partisan. I think a lot of people who want gun bans, for example, are being emotionally manipulated to take extreme action in the wake of a terrifying event, similar to the way that many people supported the more extreme and unconstitutional aspects of the Patriot Act after 9-11. Well-meaning attempts can often exacerbate a situation. I’m all for cooler heads prevailing….

      .

      • wilma permalink
        December 18, 2012 11:11 am

        Priscilla, to be explicit, I was not thinking of you in any way with my comment. Its a general comment about what I see on the web everywhere the last few days.

        I am not able to wrap my head around the idea that limiting the supply of assault weapons or 30 round clips is an extreme action, although I have no illusions that it would cure anything in an immediate way, neither would it harm any reasonable person.

        My reading on guns and crime rates showed me clearly that removing all weapons from American society would not cut the murder rate and might very well increase it. There is an advantage to having criminals not knowing which home has a strong door, a serious, dog, and finally, a gun in it. Those who do not have a weapon receive a benefit from those who do. So, I have not in any way argued that we should remove the ability of ordinary persons to own reasonable guns or ammo for legitimate interests.

        You do not hunt with an assault weapon and you do not need one to protect your home. If more than a few rounds do not end a home invasion then you are pretty well screwed and that is low probability to say the least.

        I do not know if it is part of the formal definition of an assault weapon, but in addition to being able to send 30 rounds down range in a short period, the rounds of the M-16s and related rifles are very nearly .22 in caliber but are much more destructive by design than ordinary .22 rounds and are much more lethal than normal bullets, as our range sergeant demonstrated with a gallon gasoline can filled with water when we first trained. The entrance hole was normal, the exit hole, the entire back of the can. One other little technicality, you do not empty the weapon on automatic as a straight instant 30 rounds for military purposes, you fire short bursts. More overheats the barrel and ruins the weapon. M-60 Machine guns are fired in bursts of 6 if possible for the same reason. The Fort Benning range sergeants were quite contemptous of the Rambo movies that showed a million round being fired at once. I’d much rather a school shooter had to change smaller clips, it provides some opening to stop them or escape. Those 6 heroic lady teachers did not get that opening and died trying.

        If someone enters my house and does not have an obvious weapon but is clearly threatening I intend to shoot for the thigh, which will end the discussion without a death. Not really an option with an assault weapon, the leg shot may well be death. It is not necessary to kill every idiot who makes a serious mistake, they are not all equal. Some people will be cheerful as they haul the body of some intoxicated kid out of their house, but I will not. I have a modest weapon, its enough.

      • December 18, 2012 3:14 pm

        Shoot for the thigh. Clearly, you know nothing about guns, firing under pressure, and your ability to hit a moving target.

        Now, with a security shotgun ……..

      • December 18, 2012 5:22 pm

        Wilma;

        What is an assault weapon ? The expired assault weapon ban was mostly about scary appearance not effectiveness and only banned some models of the AR-15 Lanza used. It would have done nothing to prevent this.

        How well have limits on the purchases of sudafed worked in reducing Meth ? Why do you think that such “reasonable restrictions” will work for weapons ? At the very best you can drive mass murders from guns to other weapons. The anachist’s cookbook is readily avaible http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Anarchist_Cookbook.

        The major impediment to the production of myriads of extremely dangerous biological and chemical weapons is being able to do so without killing yourself in the process – not an obstacle for most mass murders.

        I have no idea who your Sargent was but most ordinary military projectiles are less lethal than civilian ammunition. The Geneva convention requires that the military only use full metal jacketed rounds which are much less lethal – all other things being equal. unjacketed rounds – and there are myriads of particularly lethal ones expand on impact.
        Further you can convert and AR-15 to use much cheaper .22 ammunition. I have no idea what Lanza used but it is unlikely that it would have mattered whether he used NATO rounds or cheap .22 hollow points.

        Apparently you have not taken notice of the fact that death is an increasingly uncommon event for US soldiers in combat. A shot in the thigh with FMJ assault weapon is unlikely to result in death. It often did not even result in a trip home for Vietnam vets.

        Regardless, there are myriads of factors related to ammunition blankets statements are almost certainly wrong.

        No matter what the law is it is not outside the skills of the average mass murder to make the kind of ammunition they want.

        Regardless the bottom line is you can not stop this type of thing, you can not even make it much more difficult solely by banning a bunch of things.
        It is more idiotic that the war on drugs. Atleast there we have a huge supply and distribution channel to stomp on. You have one or two mass murders in the typical year. A single perpetrator, who can take years to prepare, who is typically intelligent, the barriers you are imposing are feel good at best.

        “Assault weapons” are used in 1/5 of 1% of all violent crimes.
        They make up less than 2% of all guns, and are about 1/10 as likely to be used in a crime as any other type of weapon.

        What weapon is the best choice for “home defense” depends on what you are likely to be up against. Regardless there is no special reason that you or our political class are the best arbiters of that decision.

        I personally have several dogs. Like you I am unwilling to kill some intoxicated teen who was stupid enough to break into my home.
        But criminals come in all types, and not every burgler is a hopped up teen – besides even a hopped up teen can be extremely dangerous and very hard to stop depending.

    • December 18, 2012 3:12 pm

      Attempts are to put this in context, not minimize the sadness of the event. Humans cannot do everything, all at once even if your emotions tell you otherwise. This is not a “partisan issue:” but running to ban guns and limit ammo is so left-wing. You should acknowledge your own bias for a change rather than simply insulting people who provide you with data that refutes your positions.

      When a child dies in a car accident or dies by gunshot, is the event any less sad to the family?

      That, my dear Wilma, is the point.

      • wilma permalink
        December 18, 2012 5:03 pm

        Do you feel insulted Bastiat? That is odd, I did not mention you. Methinks thou doth protest too much.

        And since you come here in order to provoke insults your complaint rings false

      • December 18, 2012 6:55 pm

        You still do not know how to read. Try again.

      • December 18, 2012 5:34 pm

        Lets say we ban assault weapons etc. And we successfully stop all mass murders – highly unlikely but let us presume that is the result. Yet at the same time we increase the incidence of death in home invasions or rapes, or other violent crimes – by say 200 additional victims a year.

        Statistics would not show that small a change. You would never be able to really tell. Yet you would have more net human suffering than you had before. More families without loved ones or people scarred for life.

        Is the distinction between a single large incredibly rare tragic event with 30 families greiving concurrently somehow worse than 200 individual families grieving spread out across the country.

        I can not know that your common sense restraints will increase these frequent but isolated tragedies. But neither can you an that is one point.
        The other is that turning the country into a police state will not stop mass murders – it wont even slow them down. I do not really believe if you were honest with yourself that you believe that anything proposed will actually help. It is nearly impossible to prevent things this rare.

        You are angry and sad and looking to do something. It is not important whether it is effective, just that it is action.

        And that is a part of nearly every dispute we have. for you it is more important to be seen to act no matter what. Every problem must be confronted We do not have to solve it, we just need to look like we care

      • December 18, 2012 6:59 pm

        What we do know from experience is that the Federal Government is horribly inept when it comes to enforcing the laws that they already have on the books (I have just posted several appalling examples. If the feds will/can not enforce laws that allow for up to 15M illegal aliens to live in this country, why would be believe that they can limit the number of bullets that float around the US.

        Pure lunacy or belief in Santa. Take you pick!

      • December 18, 2012 9:52 pm

        Wilma;

        What in gods name is “provoking insults” ?

      • December 18, 2012 9:52 pm

        Let me answer myself – 1984 newspeak.

    • December 18, 2012 4:28 pm

      Wilma;

      If most of us take sensible precautions then why do three times as many of us die from Lightning strikes each year as from mass murders ?

      So the fact that we live in a globally connected society where increasingly we will here about every single childs violent death BECAUSE they are unusual, is itself the compelling argument for investing enormous amounts of energy into solving a problem that based on actual impact should be very low on our priorities ?

      I will absolutely agree that you or anyone else is perfectly free to make this into your personal crusade. Picking and choosing what you think is important is precisely what freedom is about – until you start dictating what the rest of us must do.

      I think schools should be free to choose whether they have armed security or not – and then you can pick the school you wish to send your children too, factoring security and whatever other things matter to you in – including what you can afford. Whether security guards, or band uniforms, or new computers is most critical is a decisions we each get to make (or not) on our own. We call that the free market. It is the way each of us gets the most important part of what we can afford. it is also what drives us to produce more so that we can afford more. Regardless, it works. In 150,000 years of human existance nothing else has been found that actually works.

      The problem occurs when you say everyone must pay like it or not for the solution you choose. Everyone must share your values. You are free to persuade each and every one of us. There is no requirement that individuals make the best choices. You are free to buy diamonds when you are starving. You can tell the rest of us what we should do. But you have no power to make anyone do as you choose, and if you attempt to take such power then you are no longer an advocate but a tyrant. When you attempt to convert your wishes into government commands no matter how good your cause might have been you have made it immoral.

    • December 18, 2012 4:30 pm

      We must put lightning rods in every tree to keep people safe from lightning.

      everyone should be required to were a faraday suit to keep the lighting from getting to us.

  90. December 18, 2012 3:19 pm

    OK, Wilma, tell he again how your wonderful plan to limit ammo is going to be enforced?

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/dec/18/audit-feds-immigration-check-system-fails-12-perce/

  91. December 18, 2012 3:31 pm

    Well, how can this be? The Obama administration doesn’t enforce the gun laws we have?

    http://washingtonexaminer.com/gun-prosecutions-under-obama-down-more-than-45-percent/article/2516175#.UNBsLG99Kh0

  92. December 18, 2012 4:50 pm

    Asmith– You make many good points, but the bottom line is : I would choose to send my children to the school with the armed guards. For that to be a public school, politicians would have to be involved.

    • December 18, 2012 5:45 pm

      RP;

      I choose to cyber charter my kids. I have zero problems with you excercising your own choices.

      You are correct about public schools and that is just one of an infinity of reasons we need to end public schools – I can hear Ian steaming already.

      If you must publicly fund and “entitlement” which is stupidity itself. then atleast give people cash and let them do as they choose. Get rid of Medicare, Medicaide, Food stamps, Section 8, ….. Just give cash.

      Give parents cash for their kids education, let them send the kids wherever they please.
      Catholic schools in the US run between 2500 and 5000/year.
      In todays dollars we paid $2800/student in 1960. today we average 12000. Some places like NYC or DC are far more. There are excellent private schools near me that are less than 12,000/year.

      The point of “limited government” is that politicians should NOT have to be involved in decisions that by right belong to individuals.

      Whenever government takes over something there is less freedom.
      That is a pretty abysmal trade particularly as they typically do the task incredibly badly.

      There wwill be some good things that come from PPACA, but who here really beleives that the end result is not going to be more cost higher taxes, and being told NO about alot of things far more often ?

      • December 18, 2012 6:54 pm

        School vouchers. Milton Friedman said it many years ago.

  93. December 18, 2012 10:37 pm

    From my namesake!

  94. December 24, 2012 8:03 pm

    Hey! This is kind of off topic but I need some
    guidance from an established blog. Is it tough to set up your own blog?
    I’m not very techincal but I can figure things out pretty quick. I’m thinking about setting up my
    own but I’m not sure where to begin. Do you have any tips or suggestions? With thanks

  95. January 4, 2013 9:37 am

    Apparently, this assclown thinks 51% of the vote elected him dictator. The Constitution is merely an obstacle to be ignored.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/04/us/politics/obama-signs-defense-bill-with-conditions.html?partner=MYWAY&ei=5065&_r=1&

    • Ron P permalink
      January 4, 2013 12:13 pm

      With the Republican Party almost irrelevant these days, Obama knows he can do almost anything and no one is going to stop him. With 51% of Americans voting for him and supporting him, as well as the other 49% split in multiple fragments, he can lead this country where the president consolidates much more power and once that happens, turning back will be very difficult. He has little viable opposition.

      And then add to that additional SCOTUS judges he will end up nominating that will support his philosophy, any court case taken to SCOTUS will just be a rubber stamp approval of his actions for years to come.

      • January 4, 2013 12:59 pm

        I agree. well, he is a heavy smoker so there is always lung cancer to hope for.

        And, I mean it.

  96. tommcgtx permalink
    April 16, 2013 11:44 am

    That’a a very nice illustration and caption of “Darwin’s finches”. However, Darwin only speculated as to whether the different finches were from different islands, and he doesn’t cite them as his proof for evolution. They aren’t mentioned in the “Origin of Species”. It’s kind of a side point, but is actually on of the myths surrounding Darwin.

  97. January 15, 2014 9:01 am

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