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‘Hillary Won!’ ‘No, Bernie Won!’ So Who REALLY Won the Debate?

October 15, 2015

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Let’s start with an easier question: who lost the first Democrat debate this week in Las Vegas?

The most grotesque loser was Rhode Island political scion Lincoln Chafee, a former Republican who became an Independent before hooking up with the Democrats. The 62-year-old erstwhile senator and governor looked vaguely mummified and sounded as confused as his party-switching past. When asked why he voted to repeal the Glass-Steagall Act, that invisible wall between commercial banks and investment banks, the flustered candidate burbled a series of wimpy excuses: his father had just died, he had just taken his seat as a rookie senator, etc., etc. If he hasn’t mastered the art of political prevarication at his age, he never will. Give this poor gentleman the hook.

Former U.S. Marine and senator Jim (“I need more time!”) Webb wasted his airtime whining about his inability to command more airtime. He may have been a war hero, but whiners usually don’t make it to the White House. If he had the requisite political skill, he would have inserted himself into the conversation instead of grumbling repeatedly that he couldn’t. Color him eliminated.

Martin O’Malley, the former Maryland governor who has struggled to gain momentum as a presidential candidate, is a man of serious and generally reasonable progressive ideas. But his seriousness shaded into moroseness on the debate podium. He gained strength toward the end, but he could  use a shot of ebullience if he wants to connect with the electorate and rise in the polls. Maybe he and Donald Trump should be lined up side-by-side for a partial ego transfusion; both men would benefit.

That leaves us with Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, the two heavy hitters among the Democrat hopefuls. Both candidates gave it their best: Bernie was loud, passionate and rough-hewn, just the way his fans love him. He even displayed a chivalrous streak, as he dismissed the kerfuffle over Hillary’s e-mails with a blunt, “The American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn e-mails!”

That was vintage Bernie. He had a chance to go for the jugular, but he took the high road so we could “talk about real issues.” Did he help or hurt himself by doing so? Probably both. His gesture revealed a principled man who could rise above competitive pettiness — and probably cemented his viability as a potential Clinton running mate. But that’s part of the problem: he had a chance to expose his opponent’s vulnerable underside and pin her to the mat, but he relented. (Clinton’s credibility IS a “real issue,” Bernie.)

The former First Lady, senator and secretary of state breezed through the debate like the poised, polished, practiced pro that she is. Her admirers lauded her performance as “presidential;” her detractors tended to use adjectives like “rehearsed” and “robotic.”

She wasn’t as charitable as Sanders when it came to pulling punches: she accused the Vermont senator of being soft on gun control — a hot-button issue in the wake of numerous mass shootings. Sanders defended himself with a nuanced response, but Hillary won that round. She also took a mild dig at her opponent’s “democratic socialism” by reminding him — and us — that we’re not Denmark. True enough. Score another point for the liberal establishment’s favorite candidate.

So who really won the debate? Earnest, emotional, scruffy populist Bernie Sanders or icy-cool elite progressive Hillary Clinton? If you believe the pundit class, it was Hillary all the way: a knockout. If you believe the polls, Bernie obliterated the competition.

How can two audiences have viewed the same debate and come away with diametrically opposed impressions? Both candidates gave their fans exactly what they wanted: an authentic, impassioned, morally outraged Sanders who rose above tit-for-tat pettiness… and a poised, energized, articulate Clinton back in fighting trim after weathering some unflattering controversies.

How did The New Moderate view the two leading contenders? I like Sanders’ bluntness and no-BS approach to simmering domestic issues (i.e., the wealth gap that just keeps growing until we’re looking at an essentially feudal America down the road). But he strikes me as a one-note candidate: the voice of Occupy Wall Street. Yes, Wall Street could probably use a good occupation, but a functioning U.S. president needs to see beyond the barricades.

As for Mrs. Clinton, I give her credit for a bright and lively persona — composed, smart, graceful under pressure, mature and able to seem as if she’s not taking herself too seriously. But let’s get real: how can a plutocrat-friendly elitist convince down-and-out Americans that she’s one of them? Is it all smoke and mirrors? I’m beginning to think of Clinton as the Wizard of Oz in reverse: the image of a folksy, down-to-earth, “relatable” candidate projected onto the big screen by the machinating bully behind the curtain.

So who won the debate? Let’s call it a tie between Sanders and Clinton: they both delivered what they needed to deliver, even if Bernie missed his big chance for a knockout. Would I vote for either of them? Not without holding my nose, although anything is possible.

If The New Moderate can’t wholeheartedly endorse any of the Democrats who mounted the stage in Las Vegas this week, does anyone look like a tolerable prospect for 2016? Any of the Republicans, perhaps? Not unless you can clone Dwight D. Eisenhower and zap him to presidential age within the span of a year.

Who, then? Will a real presidential candidate please stand up? Maybe the folks who paid for a particularly touching commercial during the debate had the right idea. “Joe, run.” Biden for president? We could do worse.

 

Rick Bayan is founder-editor of The New Moderate.

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535 Comments leave one →
  1. Roby permalink
    October 15, 2015 10:10 am

    Hah, Didn’t see it! Don’t want any of them! But your description sounds on the mark. Given that the GOP is imploding it looks like Hillary.

    What is interesting about this election is that we now routinely use the word elitist, and not only the liberal left side, bt the right as well. Citizens United performed a miracle, it brought left and right and center together!

    • October 15, 2015 11:22 am

      Well, maybe one good thing came out of Citizens United, then. But so far in this campaign, I think we’re possibly looking at the most dismal presidential choices since Harding vs. Cox in 1920.

      • October 15, 2015 9:53 pm

        Interesting…we were facing the same income inequality around that time also.

      • jbastiat permalink
        October 15, 2015 10:10 pm

        what exactly does this mean. Does your income depend on who is President?

      • dhlii permalink
        October 24, 2015 2:52 pm

        Different strokes for different folks.

        Even most of the worst of the GOP choices look better than we have seen in a long time.

        I know that Webb stands no chance as a democrat – but that is more a reflection of how far off base democrats have veered.

        Trump speaks like a lunatic – but the policy papers he puts out are pretty solid.
        Bernie and Hillary are as crazy on the left as Trump – only they are actually serious. They beleive the nonsense they prattle.

        Most disturbing is that you do too.

      • dhlii permalink
        October 24, 2015 2:57 pm

        I would note that the country as in a very serious recession caused by Wilsons assorted nonsense including WWI when Garding took office and that Harding slashed government spending and taxes and ended a severe recession in 9 months and triggered a long stretch of prosperity that was not equaled until Reagan.

        We can only hope this election has similar results.

      • October 24, 2015 5:53 pm

        The only thing Harding did with alacrity while President was to die in office. He barely made it through 2 years.

        He had little to nothing to do with the recovery. The only historical significant cut he made to the national spending was his refusal to OK the bonus money for WWI American vets who fought for the US and were suffering economically after returning. Harding vetoed the bill (setting a standard for future Republicans who talk patriotically but zipper the pocketbook when it comes to to putting money where their mouths are). Aside from his mean spiritedness toward veterans, he’s most remembered for the number of scandals uncovered after his death, as well as for numerous extramarital affairs. Warren was a horny dog, apparently

    • jbastiat permalink
      October 15, 2015 2:11 pm

      Why is the GOP imploding? You do go on.

      • Roby permalink
        October 15, 2015 2:29 pm

        Since you asked

        The Republicans’ Incompetence Caucus

        David Brooks

        The House Republican caucus is close to ungovernable these days. How did this situation come about?
        This was not just the work of the Freedom Caucus or Ted Cruz or one month’s activity. The Republican Party’s capacity for effective self-governance degraded slowly, over the course of a long chain of rhetorical excesses, mental corruptions and philosophical betrayals. Basically, the party abandoned traditional conservatism for right-wing radicalism. Republicans came to see themselves as insurgents and revolutionaries, and every revolution tends toward anarchy and ends up devouring its own.
        By traditional definitions, conservatism stands for intellectual humility, a belief in steady, incremental change, a preference for reform rather than revolution, a respect for hierarchy, precedence, balance and order, and a tone of voice that is prudent, measured and responsible. Conservatives of this disposition can be dull, but they know how to nurture and run institutions. They also see the nation as one organic whole. Citizens may fall into different classes and political factions, but they are still joined by chains of affection that command ultimate loyalty and love.
        All of this has been overturned in dangerous parts of the Republican Party. Over the past 30 years, or at least since Rush Limbaugh came on the scene, the Republican rhetorical tone has grown ever more bombastic, hyperbolic and imbalanced. Public figures are prisoners of their own prose styles, and Republicans from Newt Gingrich through Ben Carson have become addicted to a crisis mentality. Civilization was always on the brink of collapse. Every setback, like the passage of Obamacare, became the ruination of the republic. Comparisons to Nazi Germany became a staple.
        This produced a radical mind-set. Conservatives started talking about the Reagan “revolution,” the Gingrich “revolution.” Among people too ill educated to understand the different spheres, political practitioners adopted the mental habits of the entrepreneur. Everything had to be transformational and disruptive. Hierarchy and authority were equated with injustice. Self-expression became more valued than self-restraint and coalition building. A contempt for politics infested the Republican mind.
        Politics is the process of making decisions amid diverse opinions. It involves conversation, calm deliberation, self-discipline, the capacity to listen to other points of view and balance valid but competing ideas and interests.
        But this new Republican faction regards the messy business of politics as soiled and impure. Compromise is corruption. Inconvenient facts are ignored. Countrymen with different views are regarded as aliens. Political identity became a sort of ethnic identity, and any compromise was regarded as a blood betrayal.
        A weird contradictory mentality replaced traditional conservatism. Republican radicals have contempt for politics, but they still believe that transformational political change can rescue the nation. Republicans developed a contempt for Washington and government, but they elected leaders who made the most lavish promises imaginable. Government would be reduced by a quarter! Shutdowns would happen! The nation would be saved by transformational change! As Steven Bilakovics writes in his book “Democracy Without Politics,” “even as we expect ever less of democracy we apparently expect ever more from democracy.”
        This anti-political political ethos produced elected leaders of jaw-dropping incompetence. Running a government is a craft, like carpentry. But the new Republican officials did not believe in government and so did not respect its traditions, its disciplines and its craftsmanship. They do not accept the hierarchical structures of authority inherent in political activity.
        In his masterwork, “Politics as a Vocation,” Max Weber argues that the pre-eminent qualities for a politician are passion, a feeling of responsibility and a sense of proportion. A politician needs warm passion to impel action but a cool sense of responsibility and proportion to make careful decisions in a complex landscape.
        If a politician lacks the quality of detachment — the ability to let the difficult facts of reality work their way into the mind — then, Weber argues, the politician ends up striving for the “boastful but entirely empty gesture.” His work “leads nowhere and is senseless.”
        Welcome to Ted Cruz, Donald Trump and the Freedom Caucus.
        Really, have we ever seen bumbling on this scale, people at once so cynical and so naïve, so willfully ignorant in using levers of power to produce some tangible if incremental good? These insurgents can’t even acknowledge democracy’s legitimacy — if you can’t persuade a majority of your colleagues, maybe you should accept their position. You might be wrong!
        People who don’t accept democracy will be bad at conversation. They won’t respect tradition, institutions or precedent. These figures are masters at destruction but incompetent at construction.
        These insurgents are incompetent at governing and unwilling to be governed. But they are not a spontaneous growth. It took a thousand small betrayals of conservatism to get to the dysfunction we see all around.

      • October 15, 2015 2:45 pm

        Oh, well if David Brooks says so, it must be true. Typical lib, anything in the NY TImes is Gospel.

      • Roby permalink
        October 15, 2015 3:25 pm

        Well, there is the matter of the actual issues Brooks (not a liberal by the way) is talking about. But you can simply dismiss it all without absorbing a word because it was in the NYTimes.

        “David Brooks (born August 11, 1961)[1] is an American conservative[2][3] political and cultural commentator who writes for The New York Times.[4] He worked as an editorial writer and film reviewer for the Washington Times;[1] a reporter and later op-ed editor for The Wall Street Journal;[5] a senior editor at The Weekly Standard from its inception; a contributing editor at Newsweek and The Atlantic Monthly; and as a commentator on National Public Radio. He is now a columnist for The New York Times and commentator on the PBS NewsHour.[1]”

        Of course in state that conservatism has fallen to Brooks is likely considered by today’s radical conservatives as nearly a Bolshevik, being intelligent, well educated, well informed, believing in science, etc. etc.

        The piece a bit oversimplified for sure but he certainly has the outlines of the tragedy.

        Whether the GOP and conservatism will survive and be effective again is not in my crystal ball, but having two wings of the party in a civil war and detesting each other with daily increasing venom is not exactly a good sign of its health. To win a presidential election those warring wings would have to unite. Can that be imagined today?

      • October 15, 2015 4:09 pm

        You remain addled. Its a shame, really.

      • October 15, 2015 6:13 pm

        Come on, jb… play nice. (I’m away from home, but my iPhone gives me powers of omniscience, at least on my blog.)

      • jbastiat permalink
        October 15, 2015 7:09 pm

        Sometimes, you have to call them as you see them.

        I thought I would take a short cut with Roby.

      • October 15, 2015 11:32 pm

        The GOP has been a fractious party for the longest time, Roby. The battle between the Rockefeller and the Goldwater wings of the GOP almost took the party down back in the 50’s and 60’s, and it’s pretty much the same fight today between the Republican establishment and the tea party conservatives. Ultimately, I think the intra-party struggles will produce a stronger GOP, although things might get worse before they get better. So, we’ll see if what doesn’t kill the party makes it stronger.

        The “radical” conservatives, as you call them are really more like “angry” conservatives, I think. They believe that they were elected to stop the leftward socialist drift of American government, but that their own leadership has thwarted them. And to a great degree, they are right. Although I’m not sure what the hell they are doing about it, other than stomping their feet and railing about RINO’s….it’s not at all productive. And too many of them get hung up on litmus tests of ideological purity that mirror those of the Democrats.

        Conservatives are, almost by definition, not inclined toward any sort of collectivism. The “herding cats” term comes to mind. Liberals/progressives- whatever you want to call them – have a great political advantage in that sense, because collective action is what they believe in and do best; too much individualism is what they fear and distrust ( oh yeah, they’ll tell you differently). Nevertheless, I would remind you that no one in 1964 – or in 1974, for that matter – would have believed that Ronald Reagan, from the dreaded Goldwater wing of the Republican party could win two landslide elections, and define the GOP for a generation. Don’t sell classical liberalism and conservatism short, or underestimate its appeal when communicated by the right leaders.

      • jbastiat permalink
        October 16, 2015 7:50 am

        Well reasoned, as usual, P. Yes, the GOP POTUS slate is a rich picture of diversity. The Dems? Two old white socialists.

        Ironic, no?

      • Roby permalink
        October 16, 2015 10:46 am

        Priscilla, Don’t get me wrong, I believe that the death of the GOP is very unlikely , nor do I wish it. I don’t want ( as I am sure you know) Bernie Sanders type government, nor are we in any danger of getting it. Yes the conservatives/GOP will likely adapt somehow.

        But “Radical” was not my word, it was Brooks who said that, who has conservative bona fides (a one time protege of William F. Buckley) that far outweigh those of anyone here. I think you are underestimating how disturbing the GOP/conservative situation looks to someone from outside the family, or even a reasonable person like Brooks inside it.

        History may indeed repeat itself and another Reagan may be in the future with a strong conservative movement. But to do that the incredible ugliness that Rush Limbaugh channels is going to have to be purged. I doubt it will be.
        What conservatism has become under the leadership of the present radical wing of the movement does not deserve to ever succeed and I certainly pray it does not.

      • dhlii permalink
        October 24, 2015 3:19 pm

        The GOP is in a power struggle over how they will rule the world when they gain control.

        Democrats are trying to white knuckle hold on to the last vestiges of power they have with a collection of not even has beens.

        The GOP conflict in congress is because the majority of new GOP senators and representatives were elected specifically to reign in government – including specifically PPACA.

        While you may not like it, that was their promise and unlike prior generations of politicians they seem intent on keeping it.

        The overwhelming majority of us do not want a government shutdown, and we do not want a debt ceiling fight.

        But we also do not want ever growing government spending and waste.
        We want a balanced budget.
        We want reduced government spending.
        We want smaller government.
        We want PPACA dead.
        We want an end to not only Ex-Im but all this government with its fingers in every pot.
        It does not matter whether it si subsidizing Big Bird – who clearly does nto need it, or PP, or Ethanol or Boeing or Solyandra.

        We want this nonsense overwith.

        It is the congressmen and senators most vigorously trying to end this waste that the left and media are fixated on.

        Rick is here arguing against CU – yet that helped bring in the very senators and congressmen who are looking to end government giveaways to corporations or others.

        Who is in bed with Goldman Sachs today ? That would be Obama, hillary and Waren. Who are the advocates for Ex-Im ? Again Obama, Hillary and Waren.

        The very people who rant the loudest about the influence of corporations on politics are the ones the deepest in bed with big corporations.

        Further those of us who elected the current crop of insurgents – do not trust them in the least. We grasp that Washington is a corrupting influence – and they know we feel that way.

        These congressmen the left is lambasting will be replaced by others even more motivated to reign in government – unless they start to deliver.

        A part of what is going on is that the political right – particularly fiscal conservatives are learning the tremendous power of a minority when that minority is large enough that the majority depends on them.

        Republicans will not control congress, or the whitehouse, unless they deliver on promises. The majoritarian nonsense of the media and the left, the god of compromise compromise is of little interest to most of these newly elected senators and representatives.

        Contra the left our government was deliberately constructed to require nested supermajorities to accomplish anything,

        Whether that thing is fund PP, or PPACA, or raise the debt ceiling.

        It is time for the LEFT to grasp – it is their choice. There can be no government or some government. There is not going to be the fiscal proflagacy that the left has massaged into place for decades.

        Further not only are these new congressmen answerable to angry voters at home rather than the washington pundocracy and the NYT, but our fiscal circumstances dictate what they are after is inevitable.

        The US govenrments current fiscal tragetory is not sustainable.

        The left is doomed. The coalition of the ascendent is on the right.
        It is driven by necescity, not demographics,

        The best hope for the progressives to hold on to anything – is NOW.
        Each year the cuts will have to be more draconian.

    • dhlii permalink
      October 24, 2015 2:47 pm

      The GOP is engaged in a contentious fight for control. That is quite different from imploding.
      In the last polls I saw half the GOP field polled ahead of Hillary in a head to head, and I think all of them were within a few points.

      Hillary is nearly certain to be the democrats candidate.
      But winning the election is a significantly harder task.
      If Bernie sanders can give her trouble, then the democrats are in far worse shape than the GOP.

      Sanders has forced Clinton to move left, which will make her much more vulnerable in the general election.

      Obama is not running, has no coattails and democrats are dispirited. All they have to celebrate is the internecine wars in the GOP.

      Democrats fail to grasp that the GOP is essentially fighting over what they will do when they win. That might be premature but it is not a party in disarray.

      Or if it is, it is more the disarray of the Allies at Versaille disputing how to carve up the remains of the german and austro-hungarian empires between them.

      Republicans will have their internal conflicts. They will eventually choose a candidate and they will almost certainly unite behind that candidate – and unless it is another establishment milqtoast like Romney that candidate will be formidable.

      Worse still for democrats the weakness in their party threatens their own effort to regain control of the senate. This election is their best chance and possibly the last in a long time.
      2018 will have a structure more favorable for republicans than 2010 and 2014.

      Democrats will be running in 2016 on a weak economy, a populace that distrusts government more than ever by a large margin, that wants new blood, with an ever dwindling Bench. With an old and damaged presidential candidate. and a dispirited democratic electorate.

      Progressives have called themselves the coalition of the ascendent.
      Yet they are losing state houses, senates, and governerships accross the country.
      They have lost the federal house and senate their best shot is the whitehouse and that is fading. Most of their leading lights are old and there is little young blood coming up from the ranks. And their own internal dissension is tearing them apart far more than the GOP.

      Pres. Obama would not have been re-elected in 2012 if – like them or not, the voters Trump is drawing had not significantly sat out the election. No democrat can win in 2016 absent continued record turnout of minority voters.
      Democrats must not only get those who historically do not vote out and voting, but they must also vote democratic.

      This is not the first time we have been told that some democratic voting block was permanent and growing.

      Jew, Irish and Italian voters were once solid democratic blocks.

      The claim that demographics favor the left requires something that has never happened before – for groups to remain solidly attached to democrats in huger percentages for decades despite changed in their circumstances.

  2. Anonymous permalink
    October 15, 2015 10:28 am

    bernie gets the nomination with hillary as his running mate…if that is not enough to get an independant socialist and a woman into the white house then the nation deserves what it gets…

  3. October 15, 2015 10:38 am

    Nice synopsis, Rick! I actually watched the whole thing. I found myself feeling sorry for Chaffee – he came across almost as a man struggling with dementia or mental retardation of some sort. O’Malley came across to me as trying (and ultimately failing) to inject some youthful energy into a debate dominated by creaky old codgers. Webb did himself no favors by continuing to whine about his lack of time, but, let’s face it, a moderate, national security-oriented politician promising to work toward consensus in the Congress is sadly out of place in today’s Democrat Party. Add to that his war-hero status,which did not play well with the pacifist audience, and he would make a great Democratic Party nominee….if only it were 1999.

    I agree with those who say that Bernie’s “damn emails” soundbite was a tell that he is not in it to win it. (Ben Carson gave a similar tell today by suspending his campaign to go back on his book tour). Honestly, I could not get past his shouting and his voice – he sounds for all the world, like Jerry Stiller gone off the rails. And a guy who extols the economy of Denmark, apparently without knowing that Denmark is now a nation in severe crisis, that has elected a conservative government to impose austerity measures, is just an loudmouth idealogue.

    Hillary won by default, because she had no competition, and the Democrats have run out of viable alternatives, unless Joe gets in.

    • October 15, 2015 11:18 am

      Nice synopsis yourself, Priscilla. Now I won’t be able to think of Bernie Sanders without Costanza’s dad popping into my head. (Thanks.) I like the guy in small doses, but I don’t know if I could take him for four years (his political views aside).

  4. Andy Tonti permalink
    October 15, 2015 1:04 pm

    Favored Bernie somewhat over Hillary for more succinctness and knowledge/ relevance to questions asked. The other 3, they lacked any established presence and motivation in the Senate. Hillary annoyed me over her puerile comment about her being the exception to the others by gender . How unnecessary and self-serving to her feminist role model ad nauseum. If she doesn’t screw up in the forthcoming Benghazi hearing, she’ll likely prevail in the primaries, and by virtue of her pre-destined “favorite daughter” status with the plutocracy, will be the DNC nominee. And what about the Bernie phenomenon of staying on Hillary’s heels in the percentage polls, without the acceptance of super PAC and vested interests campaign contributions;
    I believe his anti-corporate and banker talking points will (and are) ruling him out as any real challenge to the Hegemonic Hillary. My concern is what happens to his progressive and liberal left supporters if, and when, he concedes to her, and shepherds his people to the mainstream DEM fold. My thoughts would be for these folks to withhold their votes from the duopolistic Democrats, and gather their energies to develop a mass movement built upon Bernies widely popular agenda, and pull other disaffected Dems into an independent political party with widespread support and issue-driven.

    • October 17, 2015 9:52 am

      You guys have a real dilemma if Bernie doesn’t get onto the ticket. If you withhold your support from Hillary, you probably help elect a Republican who’ll cut social programs while going easy on the bankers, corporations and other fat cats. If you support her, you still elect another president who’s allied with the oligarchy. Seems like a no-win situation for democracy. I wonder what it would take to elect a president who represents the interests of the country — as opposed to a favored segment of the country.

      • jbastiat permalink
        October 17, 2015 9:55 am

        You don’t really think Bernie has the “best interests” of the country in mind, do you?

      • October 17, 2015 11:26 am

        More so than any candidate who favors corporate interests over public needs… but I’d really like to see someone who can address those public needs (e.g., decent income for full-time work, affordable education and medical care, basic safety nets) while instilling a sense of personal responsibility and shared American identity. (I’m sick of “boutique” identity politics, as you know.)

      • jbastiat permalink
        October 17, 2015 11:48 am

        You are dreaming my dear friend. What does this mean? “decent income for full time work?’
        Affordable healthcare? I dare say you cannot define these terms let along produce these mythic outcomes.

        Creating a primary and secondary school system that actually educates might be a start.

        Let’s work from the beginning, shall we?

      • October 17, 2015 12:04 pm

        I can give you some rough definitions: decent income means you don’t need food stamps to get by (and we don’t have to subsidize giant corporations like Walmart that underpay their employees)… affordable education means you don’t pay $250K for four years of college and emerge with crushing debt when you’re supposed to be building a life… Affordable healthcare means you shouldn’t have to pay $800 for a pill or risk bankruptcy for getting sick.

      • jbastiat permalink
        October 17, 2015 12:40 pm

        Nice idea in the magical kingdom. How did you determine that WM underpays their employees? How much should they make and how did you come up with that number? How much should a cashier make who actually can’t even make change without the machine telling him the number?

        There are $800 pills and one cent pills. Why did you pick the $800 pill? Most generic RX cost about $4 at WM.

        How much should college cost and how did you come up with that number?

        See how easy this all is, Rick?

        In the world of the magical liberal, all things should be attainable to all people. In the real world, not so much.

      • October 17, 2015 12:08 pm

        As for our educational system, I think we have to conclude that most inner city kids require different teaching methods than we’re currently using. It probably won’t happen, since that would require us to recognize racial learning differences. So the majority of inner city kids will continue to fail, drop out and make trouble.

      • jbastiat permalink
        October 17, 2015 12:41 pm

        I got news for you, it is not restricted to “inner city kids.”

      • October 17, 2015 12:45 pm

        On the subject of education, both higher and public, I think that liberals have it all wrong, Rick.

        Re: “affordable” college…..college is no longer affordable, except for the very wealthy and the very poor (who receive grants instead of loans). There are still those very bright students that choose to go to state universities and receive merit scholarships, and , of course, there are the scholarship athletes (mostly girls and football players, as boys D-1 sports have been largely wiped out by the way Title IX has been implemented.

        What I am wondering is how you figure that this is the fault of anything but the federal student loan program which feeds millions to colleges that do not keep costs down, nor focus on teaching? Back in the day, banks issued loans to students, not to colleges, based on the student’s likely ability to pay it back. Now huge loans are routinely issued according to “need” and with the job market what it is, that likely ability is….well, unlikely. Meanwhile, colleges and universities maintain huge endowments, pay 6 figure salaries to administrators and “celebrity” professors who don’t teach, and award degrees in majors like Adventure Education (Plymouth State), Bagpiping (Carnegie Mellon!?!) Canadian Studies (Duke) and any number of ridiculous and essentially useless others.

        It’s crony education, lol. Government is creating and exacerbating the problem, not fixing it. The middle class gets totally screwed, because tuition has ballooned to unaffordable levels and they can’t qualify for grants, since they are not “poor”. It will be worse when college becomes “free”.

      • jbastiat permalink
        October 17, 2015 1:41 pm

        Tuition rates at US Universities track perfectly with the rise of the student loan program. Supply and demand. Tuition price increases (inflation) is actually much higher than that of healthcare costs. This has been true since the 1960s.’

        I actually have a PPT slide with that data.

      • October 17, 2015 12:48 pm

        *I don’t think I made it clear that no loan money goes to the actual student. Only to his/her college. That is a big part of the problem, and it’s a feature, not a bug of the federal loan system.

      • jbastiat permalink
        October 17, 2015 1:42 pm

        Piggys at the trough.

      • October 19, 2015 6:15 pm

        I think all the candidates have the best interests of the country at heart.

        But it’s the means to their ends that makes you pause with uncertainty.

  5. October 15, 2015 2:13 pm

    Bernie is a loon and Hill is a crook.

    They should get married.

  6. jbastiat permalink
    October 15, 2015 10:11 pm

    Roby.

    The GOP controls the House and Senate. They have the majority of state governor offices. This is a party in trouble? You are delusional.

    • Roby permalink
      October 16, 2015 11:02 am

      And yet they have succeeded at none of their major aims and are now self-destructing. It takes blindness to ignore that. Is blindness delusional? A trump presidential nomination nearly guarantees a Hillary presidency, that is not a winning strategy, nor is a situation where the radical wing of the party makes it possible for a rational Republican to lead the House.

      The number of people who think the GOP is not in trouble is small and dwindling. Keep whistling past the graveyard.

      • Roby permalink
        October 16, 2015 11:03 am

        drat, impossible for a rational …

      • jbastiat permalink
        October 16, 2015 11:16 am

        The elections dictate the pace, not the NY Times or your liberal friends.

      • Roby permalink
        October 16, 2015 11:40 am

        A non answer to my point. If you don’t like certain realities just change the subject and you will feel better… Until November 2016 when you will most likely be apoplectic.

      • jbastiat permalink
        October 16, 2015 12:13 pm

        Yes, that is why they hold elections and that is when we will see what we will see. You problem dear liberal is that you have two senior citizens running, one who can’t tell the truth and one who used to dream about raping women. Both are socialists although HC is the lighter version.

        Both are career politicians. Boy, you must be so optimistic about them. Bernie has run what, exactly? Ah, nothing. HC days at the State Dept? Wow.

        Ah, these are not the days of Camelot, are they?

      • October 24, 2015 4:50 pm

        Jbastiat: you mean two senior citizens, at Ronald Reagan’s age.

        Think he was too old to be Prez? And life expectancy now is longer, and citizens in their 70s are as robust as citizens were in their 60s in Reagan’s era.

        And if you make that ageist remark again were going to organize a pose of pitchfork and torches to hunt you down under the full moon like the Frankenstein Monster of Conservative Misconception you seem to be..

        And no, I’m not a Liberal.

      • Jbastiat permalink
        October 24, 2015 5:48 pm

        I am 66 years old and you can kiss my ass.

      • October 24, 2015 6:02 pm

        And I’m older then you, and I bet I can kick your ass, mentally and physically and I bet I can drink your conservative butt under the table too

      • Jbastiat permalink
        October 24, 2015 6:06 pm

        I am sure you can drink me under the table and your posts are good evidence of that. I would wager your pension you couldn’t even kiss my ass, let alone kick it. But I am game. You should check with Rick first though, as he knows me well. Don’t write a check with your mouth that your aged ass can’t cash.

      • October 24, 2015 6:58 pm

        I’m willing to test it.
        How do we arrange that?

      • Jbastiat permalink
        October 25, 2015 6:28 pm

        Dude, grow up, you are running out of time and looking like a fool in the process..

  7. Roby permalink
    October 16, 2015 12:40 pm

    You leave reality starting with “dear liberal.” “I” have two candidates? As I said in the first post on this subject, I don’t want any of them. Reading skills, reading skills. Not that I want Hillary or Bernie, but they are not particularly older than presidential candidates or presidents in general, certainly Hillary is not. Bernie is not going to be president or vice president. 100% certainty. Yeah, Bernie is a bona-fide socialist but Hillary? I call, to use one of your stock phrases, Bullshit. While Bernie is not going to become president but he has run a cute little city, and been in Congress for a long while. Yes, Hillary has run things, and has as much experience in such as anyone in the GOP field.

    OhMyGod career politicians! The new F word to the right. Meanwhile the top 50% of the popularity in the GOP field last I looked belongs to 3 people who between them have never won 1 election. This is the mindset of the GOP voters, No Political experience necessary or wanted, in fact, it is poison. This is a party that has lost its collective mind. Brooks described it well.

    • jbastiat permalink
      October 16, 2015 2:32 pm

      You are quite frankly, full of crap.

    • October 16, 2015 8:35 pm

      I do have concerns that the GOP is doing itself real damage, Roby. Part of the problem is that there doesn’t seem to be an effective leader/spokesperson for the rump conservative group (no jokes, please). Ted Cruz may be developing into one, but although he is brilliant and principled, he lacks charm and comes off as somewhat humorless most of the time. He isn’t as dogmatic as the “angry bird” Republicans, and he seems to have learned from the last shutdown that he needs to do more intra-party coalition building. But a Reagan, he is not. Too off-putting, kind of like the smartest kid in the class who would rat out the kids who copied their homework.

      I’m not sure that the GOP needs someone who thinks exactly like Reagan – it just needs someone with Reagan’s political skills and strong core principles, someone who can inspire optimism in the genuine way that he did. So many politicians try to be the “next” Reagan (even Obama has drawn flattering parallels between himself and RR), but then they get co-opted by the Washington power/money game or rolled by those who play it too well. Anyway, I sound like a Reagan groupie, and I never even voted for the man…… My hope is that Marco Rubio will get his act back together and be able to woo back the tea party conservatives who originally supported him, but now see him as a RINO. I think Rubio is a brilliantly talented politician with an extremely compelling life story and an ability to inspire others. He’s not a Reagan either, but I think he is a conservative pragmatist like Reagan was.

      Anyway, the other thing I wanted to say is that David Brooks, although a bright man and a very good writer, is not really a conservative, and even establishment types tend to hold him in low regard, and believe that he is a wolf in sheep’s clothing when it comes to opining on the problems of the GOP. The NYT may consider him a conservative, and Brooks apparently considers himself one, but he’s really far too disdainful of conservative thinking to be considered a reliable voice of the right. He did vote for Obama in 2008 after all, and most Republicans would DQ him right there. If you’re going to go with the NYT, I would recommend Ross Douthat, a center-right columnist who is more in tune with how “real” conservatives think.

      Where I do agree with both you and Brooks is in regard to this notion that incompetence is fine, as long as it is “conservative incompetence”. That is a dangerous and stupid idea, and the flip side of it ( e.g. fine, as long as it is “progressive incompetence”) is what gave us Obama.

      • Roby permalink
        October 16, 2015 8:57 pm

        If there is a Republican I like a bit its Rubio. Could Maybe maybe vote for him.

      • jbastiat permalink
        October 16, 2015 9:58 pm

        There is hope for you yet.

  8. Roby permalink
    October 17, 2015 10:00 pm

    For the joy of it. Can’t wallow in politics and economics.

  9. A.J. Simonsen permalink
    October 22, 2015 12:41 am

    Re: Sanders being a one note candidate. I wish I could find the article I read (to link here) where Sanders explains why he feels that one note, economic inequity, affects every other issue we face today. While I do have concerns about him/his policies as President, more and more I feel he’s correct in that the concentration of power and wealth in undemocratic. In short, I’ll be voting for him.

    Re: what to do about the wealth gap. I think there are plenty of solutions out there, like examining corporate profits and boardroom/executive pay in relation to how many employees are on food stamps or welfare. There is no reason why a company such as the one Rick mentioned, with 4 billionaires (4 of the top 12 richest people in the world with an estimated 40 billion each) should have a single employee that requires public assistance.

    Whenever this subject comes up, I usually link to this article: The pitchforks are coming

    • October 26, 2015 9:41 am

      Thanks for the Pitchfork link.
      Provocative article.

    • Jbastiat permalink
      October 26, 2015 10:02 am

      So comrade, when do intend to start confiscating my land and money?

      • October 26, 2015 12:33 pm

        That will depend on where you live: Guardianships for the mentally disabled vary from state to state.

      • jastiat permalink
        October 26, 2015 3:44 pm

        Thanks for proving my point. With your lack of intelligence, it was only a matter of time.

    • dhlii permalink
      October 28, 2015 11:16 pm

      What to do about the wealth gap ?

      Nothing.

      By what right can you take by force what belongs to another to give to someone else ?

      The price of a hamburger is between the most you will pay for it and the least McDonlds will accept for it. They same is true for your labor.

      You are not worth some amount because you want it, or because otherwise you might end up on public assistance.
      You are worth that because you produce that much value.

      Our standard of living can be improved one of two ways:

      Producing ever greater value with decreasing resources.
      Killing people, particularly the unproductive – and that has its limits.

      That is it. You can not improve standards of living by redistribution.
      Redistribution actually reduces NET standard of living.
      First it is inefficient
      Next it actually directly reduces production,
      Finally it reduces the incentive to produce.

      You confuse money with wealth. Common leftist nonsense.
      Wealth is what we need and want.
      Money is a convenience to facilitate its exchange.

      Confiscating the money of the uber rich, does nto even transfer wealth.
      It reduces it.

      As Adam Smith noted over two and a half centuries ago,
      there is a limit to consumption. The uber rich can not possibly consume all their money.
      Whatever they do nto consume becomes investment and that serves the rest of us.

      If you take money from Gates or Buffet, you remove investment from the economy.
      You have less growth, less new jobs, less new wealth.

      This is part of the many idiocies of the Income Inequality meme.
      It is only actual wealth that matters, not money.

      There is no fundimental difference between confiscating the money of the uber rich and just printing more money. In fact printing more money is less destructive – though most of us understand how bad an idea that is.

      Christine Romer – Obama’s first Chief economic advisor authored studies demonstrating that marginal taxation above 35% cost the economy $2 for every dollar the governemtn collected.

      Romer is not some Cato or Heritage scholar. she is slightly to the right of Paul Krugman.

      • October 29, 2015 2:47 pm

        Two obvious contradictions to your comments.

        This one: “By what right can you take by force what belongs to another to give to someone else ?”

        Ever hear of the right of Eminent Domain?

        And this one: “If you take money from Gates or Buffet, you remove investment from the economy.”

        Only if you incinerate the money. If you take ten million from each of them, and divide it into thousand dollar shares for lower middle class citizens, guess what? They’re gonna spend that money on food or rent or consumer products – meaning the money is FLOWING through the economy. Which helps the economy grow. Which is a good thing, right.

      • jbastiat permalink
        October 29, 2015 2:59 pm

        Forget Gates or Buffet, I will be right over to take YOUR money. I promise it will go to a good cause.

        Feel better now?

      • October 29, 2015 3:30 pm

        I really really look forward to seeing you…
        Don’t dawdle…

      • jbastiat permalink
        October 29, 2015 5:43 pm

        There is nothing worse than a pathetic old man. Don’t be a pathetic old man.

      • October 29, 2015 7:06 pm

        “There is nothing worse than a pathetic old man”

        You came to that conclusion from your own foolish personal experience, right.
        Or as They say: takes one to know one.

        BTW, have you had anything cogent to say about the topic thread besides tossing spitballs at commentators, or like your namesake, are you just an intellectual fop?

      • November 3, 2015 11:42 pm

        The only contradiction is your creation of rights from thin air.

        governments do not have rights,
        people have rights,
        Governments have priviledges,
        and those priviledges are granted by humans,
        Rights come from nature.
        What a human can not morally do as an individual, they can not morally do collectively.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 3, 2015 11:44 pm

        No if you take money from gates or buffet you destroy investment.
        Period, end of story.

        You MIGHT balance that and net close to zero if after taking that money you invest it better than they would have – you have to do better – because the act of taking money from gates and buffet has a cost, so just to break even you have to do better.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 3, 2015 11:48 pm

        You also have a twisted problem confusing consumption and production.

        Converting production to consumption is not balanced. Consumption is not the same as investment.

        Nor does production flow automatically from consumption.

  10. October 24, 2015 2:09 pm

    You are correct Web can not be president because he has insufficient political skill.

    But that damn’s us more than him. We have had some incredible political skill in the whitehouse for a long time. That is a major part of our problems.

    It is more important to be able to spin than it is to be able to lead and to know when to lead and when not to.

    We have had a tremendous shortage of presidents who had a clue about anything except politics.

    • October 25, 2015 9:26 am

      The whole gun control debate is ultimately so fruitless, due to, 1) the lack of actual data that can be used to show that gun control works 2) the second amendment 3) the hypocrisy inherent in the debate, i.e. gun control advocates often champion, in reality, gun confiscation.

      The statistics on gun violence in America – at least the stats used by gun control advocates – always include suicides by gun, accidental gun deaths, gang related shootings and often police shootings and self-defense shootings. I would guess that the average person believes that “gun violence” refers to illegal homicides carried out by legal gun owners, and therefore is totally misled when confronted by these numbers.

      Australia does not have, and never did have a constitutionally guaranteed right to bear arms. Like it or not, and regardless of interpretation, it is a whole different story when a government attempts to violate its own constitution. If gun control advocates were honest, they would direct their activism at getting the second amendment repealed, but that would be next to impossible, so they try going about it in a more disingenuous way.

      And that disingenousness creates skepticism and mistrust, which leads to the shutting down of open debate. Erstwhile Democratic presidential candidate Jim Webb picked up on that during the debate when he noted that Hillary Clinton’s anti-gun stance is richly ironic and hypocritical, coming from a woman who is surrounded by armed guards 24-7.

      • October 26, 2015 2:06 pm

        Priscilla: To the best of my knowledge only three nations other than the US have constitutional guarantees for citizens to own guns: Mexico, Haiti, and Guatemala; and only Guatemala guarantees the right of possession for personal use. Those nations are not exactly paragons of virtue when it comes to mass violence and crime.

        None of the modern industrial Democratic nations have constitutional guarantees for citizen ownership of weapons. Nevertheless, citizen rights to own guns are amply protected in all of them.

        The Swiss, for example, with no constitutional guarantees, have a very high rate of gun ownership. That’s because every Swiss male who becomes eligible for military service at age 20 is issued an automatic rifle; female volunteers are also armed. In effect, the Swiss have a compulsory military system, structured like a militia, which stipulates soldiers keep their own personal equipment, including assigned weapons, at home. After their terms of service are completed, they turn in excess weapons, but keep the original rifle issued to them.

        That kind of ‘well regulated’ militia system is what the U.S. founders envisioned when they wrote the Second Amendment. It boggles the mind that the plain, unambiguous language of the 2nd Amendment has been historically interpreted by judges to mean ‘unregulated’ individuals have a ‘constitutional’ right to own guns for their personal use. When the Amendment was drafted, the “security of a free State” was of utmost concern, not the personal safety of citizens from highwaymen or irate spouses. After the Revolutionary War, the Continental Army was quickly disbanded as we still distrusted standing armies, and irregular state militias became the nation’s sole ground army, and national guards. They were our protections against foreign invasions and Indian tribal uprisings. Once we formed permanent armed forces the 2nd Amendment became moot.

        I have a moderate view on personal gun ownership: I certainly believe we have the right to own guns (I own a shotgun and a handgun) but there should be stricter limits on large caliber and semi-automatic weapons, and on the number of guns we can buy, with longer waiting periods to enable more comprehensive background checks to weed out crazies and crooks, etc.

        Though I doubt much of that will happen. Unless some mega-tragedy mass shooting, or a cascade of mass killings occurs in a short period of time, we’re going to continue to see periodic public massacres far into the future because assaultive violence has become as acceptable a part of our social fabric as tail-gate parties at weekend football games.

      • October 26, 2015 3:06 pm

        Jay, I have to say that, if the average gun-control discussion started from a proposal like yours, and there was a generally moderate and non-hysterical attitude among the debaters, we’d probably have solved the gun issue by now.

        As it is we have one side screaming about 30,000 gun deaths a year and the other side digging in and refusing to give an inch for fear of losing a mile……

  11. dhlii permalink
    October 24, 2015 2:11 pm

    It is pretty disturbing that on the current democratic bench Bernie Sanders is a “heavy hitter”

  12. dhlii permalink
    October 24, 2015 2:17 pm

    With respect to Sander’s remarks.

    This high road low road crap is nonsense.

    First he said what he thought would help him the most.
    He need not attack Hillary the world and her own behavior did a good job of that for him.
    and finally like most of those on the left he does not consider her behavior disturbing.

    For the left elitist rules and laws are for the rest of us, they are vested with the wisdom and pseudo integrity to know when to break the rules and laws and none of the rest of us are entitled to judge them.

    The fact that the US Secretary of State’s incompetence likely resulted in several foreign powers having a better idea what the US State departments thoughts were, then the WhiteHouse had that is inconsequential because Clinton is a fellow leftist and therefore her heart must have been in the right place.

    With Bill Clinton we were told that honesty does not matter – only competence.
    With Hillary we are told competence does not matter either, only intentions, and were not really entitled to judge those either.

  13. dhlii permalink
    October 24, 2015 2:24 pm

    Gun violence is at the lowest it has been in 20 years,
    “Mass shootings” an extremely rare event in the first place are also trending down – not up.
    Children are 100 times more likely to be murdered outside school than in it.
    Regardless, ten times as many children are poisoned each day as people killed in mass shootings each year – yet the left thinks that mass shootings are sufficient a problem to rewrite the constitution.

    • October 24, 2015 5:02 pm

      dhlii – you want to know where mass shootings have become really rare?

      In Australia, where they haven’t had one mass shooting since they curtailed the availability of Certain automatic and semiautomatic weapons?

      I’m a true moderate. I want to be able to own guns for self protection at home.
      But I’m willing to compromise on the kinds of weapons and the number of them a citizen can own for that kind of self protection, and I’m willing to have to go trough more licensing hoops to be authorized to own them.

      What’s unconstitutional about that?

      • Pat Riot permalink
        October 25, 2015 9:51 am

        Australia and the United States of ‘merca have different geographical and cultural realities. I believe I must prove that I possess a skill that Australia currently needs in order to be allowed to move to Australia. That is far from the reality in ‘merca. Australia is not bordered by Mexico. Drug traffickers from places like Columbia can enter ‘merca a bit easier than a place surrounded by water on the other side of the planet.

        Numerous right-wing, pro-gun sites claim that Australia’s home invasion rates and other crimes are up since their 1996 gun confiscation. Left wing sites claim the statistics are either manipulated or not significant enough.

        I do know I don’t like penalizing the innocent for the guilty. I do know that our “government” is the biggest arms dealer in the world, arming rebel groups, allies, and sometimes our recent enemies. But let’s make it harder for dads in ‘merca to be gun owners. Then let’s confiscate them from the citizenry, especially since the government is so efficient and trustworthy.

        I’m not anti-government. I’m anti-tyranny.

      • dhlii permalink
        October 28, 2015 10:27 pm

        Mass killings have not appreciably declined in Austraila.
        Even mass shootings – a subset of mass killings are only down somewhat

        And that tiny gain required a program of gun buy backs and confiscation that can not possibly be replicated in the US.

        There are more guns in the US than people. More than 100million americans own guns.

        Lets say you get a 60% reduction through buybacks – about what Australia saw.

        Are you prepared to go door to door to confiscate the guns of 40M americans who refused to give up their guns ?

        Lets say that only 1% of those door to door confiscations turns violent – that would be 400,000 pitched gun battles to confiscate guns.

        And all this to do something that statistics tell us will have zero net effect.

        The left and right fight over the statics of gun violence.

        The Obama administration burried the CDC study post Newton – because it found that for every 1 act of violence that could be attributed to the availability of guns, as many as 300 were prevented by guns.

        If you wish to warp yourself in a mantle of reasonableness and moderation, it would be helpful if your “reasonable” “moderate” policies actually had some statistical and quantitative support.

        The left want to ban “assault weapons” – actually they are already banned.
        What they are trying to ban today is scary looking long guns – the AR-15 is NOT an assault weapon.

        Regardless, long guns – including the AR-15 are involved in a miniscule portion of “gun violence”. The most common weapon used in violence is a hand gun.

        I would recomend reading Basiats “the seen and unseen” while it is mostly about economics, the critical aspect is that it is easy to come up with ideas and foresee their “obvious” common sense consequences, what is harder is to foresee the second and third order consequences. and nearly universally these act against and often overwhelm the foreseeable consequences.

        Worse still much of what claims to be common sense – isn’t.

      • dhlii permalink
        October 28, 2015 10:30 pm

        Here is wikipedia’s list of austrailina mass killings.

        It was the port arthur massacre that resulted in the Austrailian gon confiscation.

        What has changes is how people kill.
        Mass killings via arson as an example have become more common

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_mass_murders

      • dhlii permalink
        October 28, 2015 10:39 pm

        You wrap yourself in the claim of moderation.

        you want more hoops to buy guns.

        Lets start with the assumption that is “reasonable”

        Criminals do not buy guns legally – period. more laws will not change that.

        There are something like 350M guns in the country already.
        a total end of gun production would not alter the ability fo criminals to get guns much.

        You have certainly heard of Defense distributed and home made plastic guns.

        Well with slightly more expense you can buy a CNC machine and make high quality weapons indistinguishable from some of the best you can buy.

        You can not stop that. The equipment cost is low, the appeal to criminals high. and the process will only get easier and easier and cheaper and cheaper.

        Laws do not stop people from doing things they want to do badly enough
        All the do is allow us to punish them when they do – if we can catch them.

      • dhlii permalink
        October 28, 2015 10:51 pm

        the constitution is a poor expression of the principle of individual liberty.

        It is not itself the archetypal evocation of that principal.

        I can easily argue that the restrictions you seek are constitutional, and just as easily that they are not.

        All depends on how you interpret the constitution.

        Personally I think we take it at its plain meaning.

        “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

        Sounds pretty strong and absolute to me.
        Though I would go further,

        XI
        The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people

        X
        The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

        If the constitution did not delegate a power to the govenrment it belongs to the people.

        If there was no 2nd ammendment I would view the constitution as bering the govenrment from interfering with free exchange of any kind – because there is no explicit grant of that power to the government in the constitution.

        There is another excellent reason for interpretting the constitution as strongly limiting governemnt.

        Because if we find government truly needs more power we can ammend the constitution and grant that power to govenrment – AFTER serious fore thought

        You want more gun laws – ammend the constitution first.

        What we should not do is subject the meaning of the constituiton to ideological interpretation.

        Ideology should drive its writing not its reading.

        AS John Adams noted – “we are a nation of laws not men”
        that is the rule of law.
        What it means is that our laws mean what they say – not what we want them to say.
        We can try to change the words when we beleive they are wrong.

        But when our law suffers from broad interpretation – we are lawless.

      • dhlii permalink
        October 28, 2015 10:54 pm

        You seem to be under the delusion that states create rights.

        you have the cart before the horse.

        Nations secure rights.

        We have nations that do worse than others.

        but a nation can not create a right. Only a law.

  14. Roby permalink
    October 25, 2015 10:56 am

    On the question of the Mexican invasion issue, I happened to sit next to a fellow on a Southwest flight last week (here, I insert a long negative rant on the subject of United Airlines, on which I unfortunately also flew this summer and thus got dumped at midnight in Newark to overnight, along with several hundred other very angry people. I was going to post a video of the near riot that ensued on YouTube (the riot was in Newark airport, not Youtube) when 3 ancient customer service people attempted to deal the hundreds of stranded United customers on computers that were frozen and then went home at midnight having helped no one, but I decided that the pitiful United customer service people were already living life in hell due to the decisions made by people who make 6 figures who were currently sleeping in comfortable beds while their aged desk people were catching hell from an angry mob, so I decided not to post it, why get them fired? Moral, Fly Southwest when you can, where they treat you like a human, and even give you a few peanuts (roasted and sugared) along with not charging you for TWO checked baggages per customer, that is TWO, I repeat). Where was I? I was sitting next to a talkative consultant on a comfortable Southwest flight, surrounded by stewards and stewardesses who seemed to actually Like people, and he told me that he had done a project where he had to justify statistics showing that the present flow of Mexicans into the US is NET Negative and has been since at least 2010. More are leaving than coming in. Whodathunkit? Build that wall and you may Stop them from that. When I got home I looked it up and it seems to be true. The great Mexican invasion that is supposed to be currently threatening our American Way of Life is, if not an actual myth, at least a wild oversimplification. Now why would anyone want to do that. get people worked up into a read hot lather about the impending doom we face when it ain’t so? Gosh, it could not be that there is a good living to be made in political commentary that drives people into a panic?

    I also looked up the claim that Obama has deported people, the vast majority being Mexican illegals, at a far higher rate than W Bush, Bill Clinton, or in fact any other American President. This also turns out to be correct, in fact a Conservative group ran ads targeting Latino voters in 2012 (note the deep, deep irony) using this fact.

    I am left wondering whether there is anything at all that conservatives are terrified of that has any statistical merit? Ebola has left me alive, illegals are net fleeing the US, what will be the next panic attack?

    Now, to be fair, since I am a moderate after all, I have also failed to die or even become ill from eating genetically modified corn chips as the lefties have promised (that I would die, not that I would live).

    Pah, on all of the hysterical ideological scare mongers.

  15. Roby permalink
    October 25, 2015 11:02 am

    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2012/aug/10/american-principles-action/has-barack-obama-deported-more-people-any-other-pr/

    “A group known as American Principles in Action is running an ad targeting Hispanic voters in Nevada, trying to weaken their support for President Barack Obama.

    “Don’t be fooled by President Obama’s words,” the narrator says. “He’s not committed to immigrants. He only wants our vote. With the election on the line, he offers our undocumented youth a temporary solution that cheats them of legal status. Why didn’t he keep his promise to push immigration reform? Instead, Obama has deported more people than any other president in this country’s history. With friends like these, who needs enemies?”

    The group behind the ad, American Principles in Action is an affiliate of the American Principles Project, a group founded by conservative scholar Robert George of Princeton University. The group’s staff member responsible for Latino issues is Alfonso Aguilar, the former chief of the U.S. Office of Citizenship under President George W. Bush.”…

  16. Roby permalink
    October 25, 2015 11:03 am

    http://www.pewhispanic.org/2012/04/23/net-migration-from-mexico-falls-to-zero-and-perhaps-less/

    “The largest wave of immigration in history from a single country to the United States has come to a standstill. After four decades that brought 12 million current immigrants—most of whom came illegally—the net migration flow from Mexico to the United States has stopped and may have reversed, according to a new analysis of government data from both countries by the Pew Hispanic Center, a project of the Pew Research Center.

    The standstill appears to be the result of many factors, including the weakened U.S. job and housing construction markets, heightened border enforcement, a rise in deportations, the growing dangers associated with illegal border crossings, the long-term decline in Mexico’s birth rates and broader economic conditions in Mexico.”…

  17. Roby permalink
    October 25, 2015 11:08 am

    Yes, I do realize that its cruel of me to try to deprive any political group (or racial, gender, religious, sports affiliation, nationality, IQ, hair color or style, etc) of a good scare. I’m a cruel man, moderates are often like that. It all comes of the frustration involved in having no party and no currently electable political heroes.

  18. Pat Riot permalink
    October 25, 2015 1:21 pm

    Roby you are playing the right-left extremist game, and this is the new MODERATE. I made a valid point that the USA and Australia are not interchangeable. I mentioned that righty sites and lefty sites are both pointing in victory to crime stats in Australia. Then you go and leap to “Mexican Invasion” and “hysterical ideological scare mongers” and “terrified conservatives.” That’s righty-lefty crap. What does it matter if more immigrants have been deported by Obama, or if the large wave of immigration is stalling, etc. It’s still an issue that Australia doesn’t have. Be reasonable man. Listen to the accordion for a spell, relax, and come back to the discussion!

  19. Roby permalink
    October 25, 2015 2:27 pm

    Hey Pat, I really was not attacking you or your post. I was not lumping you in with any offending group and if I gave that mistaken impression via unclear wording I am sorry.

    I believe I am still in the moderate camp, even if the logic of my posts is most apparent to me and not always to others. Perhaps I was off on a bit of a my own tangent, for personal reasons, that of being extremely surprised, now that I accidentally stumbled on the truth a few days back, that I am not constantly reading in the news the surprising fact that the Mexican invasion is being pretty strongly oversold and is presently in reverse if anything. Who is doing that overselling and why? You can even fit this one into your own distraction theories, though I disagree with them. Anyhow, you spoke of Mexico in a way that seemed to me to imply that its a threat and I replied to that. I’m not afraid of Mexico or Mexicans in general, whereas your post gave the presence of Mexico on our borders as a factor in our need to have guns. Of course to be fair I live in Vermont, but I have visited both California and New Mexico this year and found nothing alarming in the way of Mexicans. Plenty of hispanics but no visible mayhem. Knowing nothing of the statistical realities I just now did a search of the tie between hispanic immigration and crime and politics. Perhaps this link will fly on the New Moderate:

    http://www.unz.com/article/the-myth-of-hispanic-crime/

    The Myth of Hispanic Crime
    Talk TV sensationalists and axe-grinding ideologues have fallen for a myth of immigrant lawlessness.
    RON UNZ • THE AMERICAN CONSERVATIVE • JANUARY 26, 2010

    “According to Lou Dobbs, “a third of the prison population in this country is estimated to be illegal aliens,” and Glenn Beck regularly warns of “an illegal alien crime wave.” Congressman Tom Tancredo insists, “The face of illegal immigration on our borders is one of murder, one of drug smuggling, one of vandalism for all the communities along the border, and one of infiltration of people coming into this country for purposes to do us great harm.” Michelle Malkin adds an even more terrifying note, calling our borders “open channels not only for illegal aliens and drug smugglers, but terrorists, too.” Even as far back as 2000, the highly regarded General Social Survey found that 73 percent of Americans believed that immigration caused higher crime rates, a level of concern considerably greater than fears about job losses or social unity.

    As Latino gangs have gained notoriety in the United States—particularly MS-13, dubbed the “The World’s Most Dangerous Gang” by usually restrained National Geographic—images of violent foreigners have come to dominate much of the national debate on immigration policy. A perception has taken root in the minds of the American public and many elected leaders that the greatest threat posed by mass immigration is crime.

    In recent decades, most immigrants have been Hispanic; Asians, who constitute the other large portion of the inflow, are generally regarded as economically successful and law-abiding. Although many Hispanics are American-born, the vast majority still comes from a relatively recent immigrant background. So to a considerable extent, popular concerns about immigrant crime and popular concerns about Hispanic crime amount to the same thing. While fears of perceived racial insensitivity may force many critics to choose their words carefully, widespread belief that Hispanics have high or perhaps very high crime rates seems to exist.

    But is this correct? Or are these concerns rooted in the same excitable and ideological mindset that produced endless stories of Saddam’s notorious WMD, with activists and their media accomplices passing along rumors and personal beliefs in pursuit of a political agenda rather than bothering to determine the facts? Does America face a Hispanic crime problem or merely a Hispanic crime hoax?

    Personal experiences are no substitute for detailed investigation, but they sometimes provide a useful reality check. Since the early 1990s, I’ve lived in Silicon Valley, a region in which people of white European ancestry are a relatively small minority, separately outnumbered by both Asians and Hispanics, with many of the latter quite poor and often here illegally. On any given day, more than half of the people I encounter in Palo Alto are Hispanics from immigrant backgrounds. Yet my area of the country has exceptionally low crime rates and virtually no serious ethnic conflict. This confounds the expectations of many of my East Coast friends.

    Prior to moving back to my native California, I lived for five years in Jackson Heights, Queens, one of the most heavily immigrant and ethnically diverse parts of New York City. There as well, white Europeans were a small minority and immigrants from various Latin American countries were the largest ethnic group, close to an absolute majority of the local population. On a typical afternoon or evening, probably 80 percent of the people walking the streets of my neighborhood were non-white, and on dozens of occasions I returned home from Manhattan on a late-night train, the only white face in the subway car. Yet in all my years of living there, I never encountered a hostile or menacing situation, let alone suffered an actual criminal attack. Hardly what one would expect from television images, let alone the wild claims made by conservative magazines or talk radio. The “thousands of brutal assailants and terrorists” City Journal’s Heather Mac Donald finds among our immigrant population must have moved into someone else’s neighborhood.

    So were my personal experiences atypical? Or are the media and conservative movement portrayals so completely wrong? Hispanics will constitute a quarter of the American population within a generation or two according to current demographic projections, so this is an important issue for the future of our country.

    The obvious way to answer the question is to consult the public FBI Uniform Crime Report database, which provides aggregated information on the race of all criminal suspects throughout America. Unfortunately, there’s a problem: Hispanic criminals are sometimes reported as “white” and sometimes not, rendering the federal crime data almost useless. Therefore, indirect means must be used to estimate the crime rate of Hispanics compared to whites. (Throughout this essay, “white” shall refer to non-Hispanic whites.)”…

    I’ll let any who are interested read the lengthy article and see the statistical analysis.

    I am applying common and sense and common decency, not to mention some attempt at objectivity, which to me are the life blood of moderation.

    I did not say anything about Australia or gun control, gun crimes are heartbreaking but after 50 odd first graders were massacred and no progress was made on any sensible gun legislation, I gave up hope, so I am not debating that issue, we Americans are hopelessly gun addicted. In that regard I wish I lived elsewhere, though I’m not sure where that would be. Life in America is still beautiful on most days in most places, don’t get me wrong.

  20. Pat Riot permalink
    October 26, 2015 12:16 am

    Okay, we all know there are some people who make sweeping generalizations about people, groups, races, minorities. Let me begin by establishing that I’m not making across the board condemnations or characterizations of Mexico, Mexicans, immigrants, any race, or poor people.

    But now let’s step back from some of the details, and from the emotions and noble defenses, and get real. Is there more violent “street crime” committed by people from bad neighborhoods or from people from affluent neighborhoods? With a number of exceptions, violent street crime is America is committed by “low lifes” and degenerates, etc., from bad neighborhoods. That’s any race. Desperate people do desperate things. So that I’m not misunderstood, there are of course some beautiful people in bad neighborhoods.

    Now let’s apply common sense to ILLEGAL immigrants coming from Mexico. Yes, sure, plenty of hard-working wonderful people coming to America from Mexico. But common sense tells us that a percentage of illegal immigrants are desperate people. They don’t have a lot, so they are coming to America to get more. I don’t need to find stats and charts for this. It’s obvious.

    And of course, also obviously, I shouldn’t have to say it, there are plenty of low-life criminals in America already that have nothing to do with Mexico. Crime in America exists because of MANY factors.

    The percentage of illegal immigrants from Mexico who are dangerous, whatever the number, is something Australia doesn’t have to deal with because Australia is surrounded by ocean and because Australia’s immigration policies are fairly sane.

    Roby, I did think you were lumping me in with fear-mongering conservatives and such. Maybe I read into your previous posts. I should have downplayed my tone by including a smiley face with my previous post. No real offense taken.

    • October 26, 2015 9:07 am

      I was reading last week about how Cardiff University came very close to cancelling an “offensive” speech by feminist icon Germaine Greer, because of her “hateful” attitude toward transgenders (she says that Caitlyn Jenner is not really a woman) and Oxford (Oxford!!) DID cancel a debate on abortion, because the debaters were men (obviously women haters, ya know). Apparently, students in the UK are as fragile as American students, who must have trigger warnings and safe spaces to prevent their being offended by words and ideas.

      What the hell ever happened to “sticks and stones will break your bones, but names will never hurt you”?

      When it comes to immigration, this whole name thing gets ridiculous. One can no longer refer to people who have purposely and unlawfully sneaked into this country as “illegal immigrants” without being called haters. You can’t make the observation that many of these “undocumented citizens” are criminals, or that many of the “unaccompanied children” are violent young gang-bangers. If you do, you are clearly a racist hater. You certainly can’t use the term “anchor babies” to refer to the abuse of the 14th amendment by Hispanic and Asian immigrants, because, well, you must be a hateful, hating hater. “Sanctuary” cities? Don’t you dare discuss the possibility that they should be denied federal funding or protection for, oh, you know, blatantly violating federal law, because, if you do, you must be a right-wing extremist, racist you-know-what…..

      Trump observed that we have over a quarter of a million “undocumented” felons in our prisons for crimes such as murder, rape, drug smuggling etc. and said that he will get these people out of the country and prevent more from coming in. Is his deportation scheme reasonable or even feasible? I think not. The fence? I don’t think that is such a bad idea, certainly think it is worth discussing, but maybe there is something better.

      Is anything he says hateful?

      • Roby permalink
        October 26, 2015 10:53 am

        Priscilla, if your posts reflect your priorities, and they may well not, there is hardly any bigger issue to you than the fact that some conservatives are accused of being racist haters by some liberals. I agree with your main point, what happened to “sticks and stones”?

        As well, not every conservative by far is as good-hearted as you regarding race.

        There are far more important things to worry about in my opinion than PC.

        As well, no side is innocent of using PC arguments as a weapon to advance their interests. The below was written by a conservative organization trying to persuade hispanics not to support Obama. Politics is war, any advantage is used by all participants including different versions of PC.

        “Don’t be fooled by President Obama’s words,” the narrator says. “He’s not committed to immigrants. He only wants our vote. With the election on the line, he offers our undocumented youth a temporary solution that cheats them of legal status.

      • October 26, 2015 11:35 pm

        Well, Roby, you’re right that I do have big concerns about so-called “hate speech”. And I get that you think I am oversensitive about it because I skew to the conservative side, and also that you think the issue is overblown and really no big deal.

        I think what you don’t get about my position is that I see the hate speech issue and my personal sensitivity as two separate things.

        I bristle, somewhat, at the smug superiority of liberals who “know” that they are smarter, better and kinder than I, simply because they use the right PC buzzwords and vote for politicians with a ‘D” after their names. But, for the most part, I’ve gotten over that, and no longer feel a need to engage in pointless arguments over white privilege or whose “lives matter”, or whether Matt Damon should make more money than Jessica Chastain in a film that he starred in.

        On the other hand, when I read that a majority of Democrats support criminalizing “hate speech” I do get concerned, because we are now talking about taking away basic freedoms. It’s one thing to litigate defamation and false advertising. A whole other thing to regulate speech in such a subjective way that expressing an offensive opinion becomes a crime. That’s already happening in Canada and Britain.

        I don’t consider homosexuality to be immoral, but I know that there are those who do. As long as they do not persecute or oppress gay people in any way, I don’t think those people should be prosecuted for expressing their opinion. That’s censorship. And it makes martyrs out of bigots and elevates demagogues into heroes. Once we start defining mere words as discrimination, we are on a very slippery slope….

      • jbastiat permalink
        October 27, 2015 7:52 am

        Brilliant, my dear Priscilla!

      • October 27, 2015 9:40 am

        By the way, Roby, lest you misunderstand me, I do NOT include you in the “smug liberal” category. Just sayin’….

    • October 26, 2015 10:27 am

      We will never know how many affluent young white thugs there are because the police go easier on them and/or their parents pay for the records to be expunged. Truly. I came from one of those neighborhoods.

      • October 26, 2015 11:40 pm

        I don’t think you’ll get an argument about that from anyone, Susan.

    • Roby permalink
      October 26, 2015 11:00 am

      Pat, your use of Mexico as an example simply was the entry point to my own surprise about a net negative Mexican immigration. I long ago understood your kind intentions and, believe me, I appreciate them here. Peace, truly.

  21. Roby permalink
    October 27, 2015 11:25 am

    “By the way, Roby, lest you misunderstand me, I do NOT include you in the “smug liberal” category. ”

    Understood, Priscilla, Since I don’t think of myself that way I don’t feel guilty about references to smug liberals, they are out there, oh yes, and annoy everyone else, counter productive mostly.

    Every political group or religious group has members who think they know the “right way” that everyone should live and think but there is that large subset of liberals have a real talent for it with their own special, “I’m tolerant but intolerant” hypocrisy. I guess when, say, the religious right perscribes how they think everyone should live its at least internally consistent, they don’t pretend to be tolerant, they are biblically narrow minded and proud of it.

    • jbastiat permalink
      October 27, 2015 11:29 am

      I think it is quite correct to type liberals in general as in favor of collective/coercive action that smacks of the “I know better than you” mindset.

      “I’m right, you are too stupid to understand, so sit down and do what I say.”

      • October 27, 2015 12:50 pm

        Agreed. And also correct to type many religious conservatives as proud of their intolerance, and on moral grounds.

        The difference as I see it, is that left wing extremists are often accepted by more moderate and reasonable liberals as idealists who stand on principle, or activists who must employ extreme measures to achieve worthy goals – ends justifying means, basically.

        The right tends to marginalize its extremists and spends a lot of energy trying to prove that conservatives in general do not believe or behave like the most extreme wingnuts. The left frequently exploits this tendency and defines “extremism” down, so that even fairly mainstream conservatives have to spend more time defending themselves as reasonable, and less time in genuine debate. Rarely do you see Democrats, for example, point out the nuttiness of some of Bernie Sanders’ proposals, while Republicans tend to savage conservatives like Pat Buchanan.

        I think it has always been this way, but today’s media environment tends to highlight it.

      • jbastiat permalink
        October 27, 2015 1:06 pm

        I have long given up “defending myself” or my views. It is a waste of time and I don’t owe that to anyone.

        The trouble with most liberals is that they LOVE the coercive power of government and try to use it for all manner of ill-conceived plans and desires.

  22. Roby permalink
    October 27, 2015 1:01 pm

    “The difference as I see it, is that left wing extremists are often accepted by more moderate and reasonable liberals as idealists who stand on principle, or activists who must employ extreme measures to achieve worthy goals – ends justifying means, basically.
    The right tends to marginalize its extremists and spends a lot of energy trying to prove that conservatives in general do not believe or behave like the most extreme wingnuts. The left frequently exploits this tendency and defines “extremism” down, so that even fairly mainstream conservatives have to spend more time defending themselves as reasonable, and less time in genuine debate. Rarely do you see Democrats, for example, point out the nuttiness of some of Bernie Sanders’ proposals, while Republicans tend to savage conservatives like Pat Buchanan.”

    God, how subjective this all is, and how much it depends on what “side” you are on. To me the question of which part of the spectrum tries to counter its nuts seems quite different, though nether side tries very hard, they can’t afford it. I seem to remember a GOP party chairman who attempted to somewhat muzzle Rush Limbaugh and it ended in him having to apologize. On the other hand I will never forget Barry Goldwater going after Falwell, but that was long ago already.

    • Priscilla permalink
      October 27, 2015 1:28 pm

      Haha, for sure, we see things through our own prism. ( I would remind you, however, that Rush Limbaugh attacks and is attacked by establishment Republicans -RINOs , if you will, all the time. Plus he is a media personality, not a politician). Smiley face inserted here.

    • October 28, 2015 10:12 pm

      Very bizzarre prism.

      You are horribly incognizant of the nuances of different perspectives on the right.
      Which divides up far more complexly than just “moderates” and “extremists”.

      Do you think Chenney, Laffer, Ryan, Limbaugh, Romney, Bush, Roberts, Cruz, Rubio, Santorum, Huckaby and Paul can be divided into two groups – extremists and moderates,

      Chenney – Neo-Con
      Laffer – Supply sider
      Ryan – fiscal conservative
      Romney – Establishment
      Bush – progressive republican
      Roberts – religious right.
      Cruz – Tea Party – sort of
      Santorum – Social Conservative
      Paul – Libertarian republican.

      And those are not even all the divisions and many bridge different segments.

      Which groups would you call the extremists ?

      I think the idiots of both parties who think we can recklessly mortgage our future and spend without regard for anything sustainable, are bomb throwing lunatic extremists.

      That would be nearly all democrats, progressive republicans, and establishment republicans.

      The current turmoil in the GOP is primarily due to the demise in importance of the religious right – no they have not died, they are just significantly weaker.

      That has resulted in a LEFT shift in the GOP and a power struggle.

      Basically fiscal conservatives, supply siders, Tea PARty. and libertarian republicans are in an uneasy alliance against neocons, progressive republicans and establishment republicans for control of the party. With a near certain long run loss to the establishment side.

      I do not see slightly less fiscally reckless than a democrat as “moderate” nor a viable future.

      But I am not surprised that democrats might see the establishment republicans as the side the hope against hope wins.

      But I would suggest contemplating that freedom – including economic freedom will eventually prevail. Fiscal irresponsibility is actually unsustainable. Further so long as the world economy grows faster than govenrment no matte how evil our government is on net freedom grows.

      • October 29, 2015 1:06 pm

        RE This: “You are horribly incognizant of the nuances of different perspectives on the right.”

        Pomposity: pretentiousness wrapped in pseudo-erudition.

        RE This: “Do you think Chenney, Laffer, Ryan, Limbaugh, Romney, Bush, Roberts, Cruz, Rubio, Santorum, Huckaby and Paul can be divided into two groups – extremists and moderates,”

        They’re like an imploding Tower of Political Babble, pieces flying every-which-way. Reminds me of the English Parliamentarian division of government. That’s what we should transition to here. It would be way more fun and way more interesting.

        AN ASIDE: Talking about the English government, if any of you are subscribed to Netflix make sure to check out Episode 1 of “Black Mirror” – titled “The National Anthem.” It will give you a new perspective on the term ‘government pork.’

      • October 30, 2015 8:57 am

        Sorry that you didn’t understand me, Dave. I am not at all “incognizant of the nuances of the right”, but the point that I was making did not necessitate my discussing the micro-divisions within the GOP. And, Jay, I’m not a nihilist when it comes to politics. A skeptic, yes – I think that skepticism is essential. And I’m not a big fan of the British multi-party system. Messy and unproductive. Consensus is hard enough without the weird and unsavory machinations needed to create the unstable coalitions that now govern that nation. In short, democracy works better with a two party system, but, you know, YMMV.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 3, 2015 11:58 pm

        Priscilla;

        My comment about bizzarre prisms was not in response to your post.

        The structure of government is less interesting to me than the roles and power of it.

        Impediments to narrow concensus are a good thing. The power of gorvernment should not be excercised short of super majority support.

        The US two party system is flawed in that respect, but this is mitigated by complexity and super majoritarian constructs elsewhere.

    • dhlii permalink
      November 3, 2015 11:53 pm

      Pomposity would be the pretense that you understand the views of others when you clearly do not.

      Regardless, your remarks make my point for me.

      You are clueless as to the differences in values of others. In your world there are only two perspectives, yours, and wrong, and wrong is wrong, merely because it is not yours.
      It is unnescary to dig further.

      • Roby permalink
        November 4, 2015 8:49 am

        “You are clueless as to the differences in values of others. In your world there are only two perspectives, yours, and wrong, and wrong is wrong, merely because it is not yours.”

        Oh the irony, if only he could see it.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 4, 2015 1:39 pm

        The Irony is with you.

        I have zero problems with what anyone else here might beleive – so long as they do not use force to acheive those beleifs.

        Jay correctly noted that Progressives are not the only ones who are prepared to take what is not theirs by force.

        You are prepared to impose your views on others by force, and you idiotically equate any resistance to your use of force as somehow equivalent.

        Join a commune, form a union, give to the poor. Take any purported value that those on the left hold and impliment it yourself, or with others sharing the same views and values – so long as you do so voluntarily, I am fine with whatever you choose. In many instances I may even join you.

        But when you decide that you have the right to use force against those who are not in the act of harming you or others, then you act immorally.

        That you think there is some moral equivalence between your initiation of force against others, and their self defense, is extremely ironic.

      • jbastiat permalink
        November 4, 2015 1:44 pm

        Once again, Dave has a point.

  23. Roby permalink
    October 29, 2015 2:09 pm

    JJ Congrats on an immediate success, you nailed it at your first shot. Some of us made the mistake of doing prolonged battle with him. Hours I can never have back. Not rewarding. Lost in his millions of words of nonsense are occasionally some interesting points if one has the infinite patience needed to find them.

  24. Roby permalink
    November 1, 2015 10:26 pm

    This seriously cracked me up:
    http://nypost.com/2015/01/11/sorry-liberals-scandinavian-countries-arent-utopias/

    An excerpt:

    Want proof that the liberal social-democratic society works?
    Look to Denmark, the country that routinely leads the world in happiness surveys. It’s also notable for having the highest taxes on Earth, plus a comfy social safety net: Child care is mostly free, as is public school and even private school, and you can stay on unemployment benefits for a long time. Everyone is on an equal footing, both income-wise and socially: Go to a party and you wouldn’t be surprised to see a TV star talking to a roofer. The combination of massive taxes and benefits for the unsuccessful means top and bottom get shaved off: Pretty much everyone is proudly middle class. Danes belong to more civic associations and clubs than anyone else; they love performing in large groups. At Christmas they do wacky things like hold hands and run around the house together, singing festive songs. They’re a real-life Whoville.
    In the American liberal compass, the needle is always pointing to places like Denmark. Everything they most fervently hope for here has already happened there.
    So: Why does no one seem particularly interested in visiting Denmark? (“Honey, on our European trip, I want to see Tuscany, Paris, Berlin and . . . Jutland!”) Visitors say Danes are joyless to be around. Denmark suffers from high rates of alcoholism. In its use of antidepressants it ranks fourth in the world. (Its fellow Nordics the Icelanders are in front by a wide margin.) Some 5 percent of Danish men have had sex with an animal. Denmark’s productivity is in decline, its workers put in only 28 hours a week, and everybody you meet seems to have a government job. Oh, and as The Telegraph put it, it’s “the cancer capital of the world.”
    So how happy can these drunk, depressed, lazy, tumor-ridden, pig-bonking bureaucrats really be?
    Look a little closer, suggests Michael Booth, a Brit who has lived in Denmark for many years, in his new book, “The Almost Nearly Perfect People: Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia” (Picador).
    Those sky-high happiness surveys, it turns out, are mostly bunk. Asking people “Are you happy?” means different things in different cultures. In Japan, for instance, answering “Yes” seems like boasting, Booth points out. Whereas in Denmark, it’s considered “shameful to be unhappy,” newspaper editor Anne Knudsen says in the book.
    Moreover, there is a group of people that believes the Danes are lying when they say they’re the happiest people on the planet. This group is known as “Danes.”
    “Over the years I have asked many Danes about these happiness surveys — whether they really believe that they are the global happiness champions — and I have yet to meet a single one of them who seriously believes it’s true,” Booth writes. “They tend to approach the subject of their much-vaunted happiness like the victims of a practical joke waiting to discover who the perpetrator is.”

    The piece is quite well written and goes through the Scandinavian countries one by one explaining the downside of each one, pretty objectively.

    • November 2, 2015 8:11 pm

      Roby, there’s an article in todays NY Times that addresses some of the points you brought up: “DEATH RATES RISING FOR MIDDLE-AGED WHITE AMERICANS”

      http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/03/health/death-rates-rising-for-middle-aged-white-americans-study-finds.html?hpw&rref=health&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=well-region&region=bottom-well&WT.nav=bottom-well&_r=0

      A significant portion of that rise is stemming from substance abuse: alcoholic liver disease and overdoses of heroin and prescription opioids, etc. Also, one of the authors of the study, while checking statistics on suicide and happiness in the U.S., skeptical about whether states with a high happiness level have a low suicide rate, discovered in fact the opposite is true: high happiness levels go hand in hand with high rates of alcoholism, drug abuse, and suicide.

      Although he doesn’t provide a link to the study, assuming it’s true US States with high happiness levels also have high levels of other negative social behaviors, can’t we then assume there’s no relationship those negative behaviors and social democratic governments. Therefore, none of the ‘downsides’ are in line with Scandinavian level of socialism.

      My guess is that they’re more in line with the amount of cold weather in the Scandinavian countries, and with their historical social traditions of drinking a hell of a lot of beer. You can see this carry-over to North Dakota, a US state filled with Scandinavian, which has the dubious distinction of being the beer drinking capital of America ( In 2013 they consumed 42.6 gallons per drinking age adult; compared with Utah at the lower end with only 19.6 gallons). North Dakotans also engage in binge drinking at rates far above the national average. And Minnesota, another state with a lot of Scandinavians) is not far behind in beer consumption.

      Denmark’s cold climate may also have a bearing on it’s low tourism; Canada, also a cold nation, is also not a desirable tourist destination (and in fact a million Canadian citizens are living here in the US, most of them in warm-weather Southern states).

      One further remark on ‘high taxes’ in the socialist democracies. High taxes are relative to what you’re getting for your tax dollar. You need to look at it like buying a season pass to an NFL stadium. Are you paying a ‘low-tax’ membership that only gets you game admission, or a package deal that includes parking, free team hats and shirts, clubhouse entry, and occasional photo sessions with the players.

      All governments are imperfect. The Danes seem to be happier with their form of imperfection then we Americans are with ours. Different Smorgasbords for different folks.

      • November 3, 2015 10:56 am

        Your NFL analogy is a good one, Jay. A lot of Americans would choose to pay more for the deluxe package. And a lot would not. The whole point being that having the freedom to choose is a big part of it. It helps to have a small, homogeneous NFL-loving population, who all live relatively close to the stadium that can seat them all, has enough free hats/shirts for everyone, and the space to provide free parking. And, of course, that the government is transparent and fair, not giving access to 50 yard-line seats and photo ops with players to their friends and family, or to the corporations that help support the stadium.

        I think that expectations play a huge role in determining happiness. If I order a $5 hamburger expecting to get fries on the side and then discover that I’m in a place that charges $3 extra for sides, I’m going to be unhappy, because I was expecting more for my money. I have never heard anyone claim that Denmark (or Sweden or Norway) is a “land of opportunity.” And, it is not, but whatevs, no one said it was. America, on the other hand……

      • jbastiat permalink
        November 3, 2015 11:11 am

        So called Progressives always love to tell other people what to do and when to do it. They also love to take their money for their own specific wants and needs.

        OPM, that is the liberal refrain.

      • November 3, 2015 12:13 pm

        “So called Progressives always love to tell other people what to do and when to do it. They also love to take their money for their own specific wants and needs.”

        The above statement is true, with the following correction:

        So called (fill in the blank with any political group) always love to tell other people what to do and when to do it. They also love to take their money for their own specific wants and needs…

        What goes for the Progressive Goose applies to the Conservative Gander as well.
        That’s what politics has always been about, telling the opposition it’s your way or the highway.

      • November 3, 2015 12:28 pm

        So, consensus and compromise are mere figments of our imagination? Debate is futile, just pick your side?

      • dhlii permalink
        November 4, 2015 1:31 pm

        Consensus and compromise are TOOLS, they are not ends in and of themselves.

        Should we have compromised with Hitler ? Only kill 3M jews ?

        As a pretty good rule of thumb where we are unable to come to a consensus, or reach a compromise individuals should be free to act on their own as they choose, and govenrments should be barred from acting.

        I may choose to compromise with my neighbor over the frequency with which I mow my grass, but absent actual harm to them I should not have to compromise.

        Conversely, absent a near universal agreement, or again a clear actual harm to others my government should not be able to force me to mow my grass.

        When government acts anything it does could eventually result in the use of force.
        We do not use force against others merely to acheive something a majority of us want.

      • jbastiat permalink
        November 4, 2015 1:34 pm

        Again, a fair generalization. We are a far cry from that these days, what with PC nostrums now become law and pseudo-law (try taking on “diversity” at my University and see how long you keep your job!

      • November 3, 2015 1:05 pm

        When politicians quickly compromise and come to consensus, that’s the time we really have to worry 😊

        It would be nice if the divides between the Left and Right weren’t so wide apart. And if there wasn’t so much distorted crap flying around daily. But maybe it’s always been like this this, and we forget the perpetual state of political anamosity, perpetrated by the imperfect kinds of people we elect to represent our interests.

        “Suppose your were an idiot and suppose you were a member of Congress… But I repeat myself.”
        Mark Twain.

      • November 3, 2015 1:28 pm

        I do love that Mark Twain quote. And this one: “To lodge all power in one party and keep it there is to insure bad government and the sure and gradual deterioration of the public morals.”

        Agreed,corrupt compromise and consensus is probably worse than none at all. But we haven’t even seen that in recent years. The left-driven Democrat Party has opted for total power, waged first through majorities in Congress, and then, after losing those, through executive diktat. Consensus that doesn’t come about as a result of honest debate isn’t consensus at all – it’s acquiescence, appeasement, surrender…..that has been the role of the spineless Republican opposition.

        Without opposition, there really can’t be any democracy. I don’t think it’s a matter of the width of the divide between the Right and the Left, but in the stifling of the debate.

      • November 3, 2015 5:08 pm

        “The left-driven Democrat Party has opted for total power, waged first through majorities in Congress, and then, after losing those, through executive diktat. ”

        Out of curiosity I just looked up Presidential Executive Decisions after WWII. Although Democratic presidents have a slight edge, the difference is not statistically significient. All are within the same range of presidential dictate. In the most recent Rep-Dem comparison, GW Bush still slightly edges ahead of Obama in making those binding legal decisions.

        Our two-party government is equally two-faced in its manipulation of the puppet-like strings of power. I don’t see much moral or ethical difference between them.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 4, 2015 2:54 pm

        Who is defending Republicans ?

        I mean really ? GWB is practically as progressive as Obama. Richard Nixon was more progressive.

        While the right has had more limited government, fiscal conservative types – atleast since democrats purged theirs almost a century ago, statists are to be found in abundance in both parties.

      • November 4, 2015 6:17 pm

        Right, both parties suck.

        And the system has been working pretty much the say way for generations.

        And it’s obviously not going to change.

        So maybe it’s time for you to do what our ancestors did, when they were unhappy with their political and economic situations: move to another county.

        Any ideas where you might be heading? Any nations come to mind more in line with your standards of non-government and lower taxes?

      • November 13, 2015 2:08 pm

        What nonsense.

        I make my own choices, regarding who I will vote for and where I will live.

        But I am free to resist those who would use violence against me to impose their ideas on me by force – with violence, if I so choose.

        Our ancestors did leave their countries of origen when faced with that kind of oppression.
        And when it followed them they took arms against it and defeated it.

        I have no special place in my heart for the right, but the only party even paying lip service to limited government and greater individual freedom is the GOP.

        The right is quite dangerous to our liberty – but not more so than the left.
        And so long as no one on the left is prepared to accept that ones liberty might be more important than their current pet pipe dream, I and many others are likely to selectively favor the right.

        Regardless, left wingnut ideology is unsustainable.
        It depends on others producing without keeping what they produce to allow those who do nto produce to consume

      • dhlii permalink
        November 4, 2015 2:51 pm

        Why do we want our politicians to be more homogenous – We are not homogenous ?

        The left and even Republican establishment politicians can rant about the Freedom Caucus – but they are doing exactly what their constituents elected them to do.

        One of the reasons that this election cycle seems fixated on outsiders, is because a huge portion of the electorate sees washington as corrupt and corrupting.

        We send representatives there to clean house and all too soon they come back as much a part of the system as the ones they ran against a few years before.

        Those the media keeps calling bomb throwing extremists have been winning election after election since 2009. The left had one electoral success in 2008 and made changes that are wreaking havoc on this country for decades to come. Yet, repeated cycles of far greater electoral success have barely slowed down the left.

        We can not even defund a stupid small crony bloated bank.

        I would be prepared for politics to get even more angry and even more extreme until the establishment republicans and democrats capitulate and grasp that an awful lot of the country is extremely angry with them.

        What you see in politicians in congress is a reflection of the mood of the people.

      • Roby permalink
        November 4, 2015 11:37 am

        Its a great and thoughtful comment, Jay. Funny thing, my father sent me a link to this same research.

        Danes seeming to be happier is most likely a cultural statement, they a culturally disposed to saying that they are happy, just as the Japanese may be culturally programmed to believe that such a statement would be egotistical.

        Simply I am bemused at the idea that the US can follow the lead of “Scandinavian countries, even the concept of Scandinavia itself is a bit artificial. But even given that there are such a thing as Scandinavians, (Iceland, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Norway, which are hardly culturally homogeneous) then the thing about Scandinavian countries is that they are full of Scandinavians. We are not Scandinavians and have nearly completly different sets of parameters, different cultures, histories, as you say, climates, sizes, economies, demographics, institutions, and racial makeups.

        How in the hell are we going to become Denmark according to the dream of many of the Bernbots? Just another liberal fantasy of good intentions.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 4, 2015 1:25 pm

        “So called (fill in the blank with any political group) always love to tell other people what to do and when to do it. They also love to take their money for their own specific wants and needs…”

        “The above statement is true, with the following corrections:”

        Progressives ALWAYS want to take other peoples money for their wants and needs.

        SOME other groups such as SOME conservatives SOMETIMES do.

        But few if any libertarians are after other peoples money.

      • jbastiat permalink
        November 4, 2015 1:28 pm

        I think that is a fair generalization.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 4, 2015 2:42 pm

        The average mean yearly temperature of Denmark is the same as that of Iowa.
        The warmest parts of Canada are the same as Denamark. Most of Canada is colder.

        It is entirely possible that increased happiness corresponds to higher rates of suicides.
        Regardless, purported index’s of happiness are by far the most dubious measures we have.
        I would be hard pressed to think of anything more difficult to attempt to measure objectiviely or more susceptable to bias. We have ample recent evidence that 1/3 of all major social sciences studies are completely unreproducable, and another third do not demonstrate statistically significant results – I would not be betting heavily on the accuracy of a happiness index.

        Beer drinking may correspond to suicide to.

        But finally, you connect all these disparate facts as if your connections are obvious and inherently meaningful. They are not. I could easily use the same information to reach the opposite conclusions.

        You NFL stadium analogy is quite interesting and demonstrates the HUGE flaw in all the leftist nonsense.

        We freely and individually choose the NFL package we want based on our individual values.

        When government chooses for us, it chooses for all of us.

        Taxes are levied on all and optimally benefit only a few.
        I have to pay for the package our politicians want. Not what I want.

        Inherently a high tax system MUST deliver less value – because it more crudely reflects the individual values of citizens.

        This also addresses the “monoculture” issue. It is probable that the inefficiency of tax based delivery of value is LESS in monocultures than in diverse societies – because those living in a monoculture more closely share exactly the same values.
        A central choice by the danish govenrment – though still inefficient is likely to be a better match to the wants and needs of danish individuals because there is far less variation int he wants and needs of danes than far more diverse nations such as the US.

        If you want to compared Denmark to the US – compare it to connecticutt.

      • November 4, 2015 6:37 pm

        “We freely and individually choose the NFL package we want based on our individual values. ”

        No, you choose the individual packages presented by the NFL, you don’t get to structure your own package. And if you don’t like the packages presented by the NFL, you can choose not to go to NFL games.

        And if you don’t like the packages presented to you by the Government (structured by representatives elected by a majority of voters) you can escape the persecutions of this democracy and become a refugee. And pack up all your cares and woes, and head for greener (less irksome) pastures.

        Be sure to drop me a card when you get there…

      • dhlii permalink
        November 14, 2015 8:09 pm

        You seem to beleive that because you have less than infinite choices you have none.

        Few of us have the option of caviar at every meal, that does nto mean that caviar is not something we can freely choose.
        Nor does it mean that because caviar 3 meals a day is not a choice available to us that we have been deprived of food.

        The NFL on the other hand endeavors to offer what it is able to, that most potential customers want.
        Yes, often we do not get infinite choices – there are only a couple of hundred choices of breakfast cereal. And we rarely get exactly the choice we want at the price we want.
        But we are still free to choose – or not.

        We are not coerced or forced. The absence of some hypothetical perfect choice is not the same as coercion, force or lack of free choice.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 14, 2015 8:20 pm

        Further unlike the NFL which offers me something it has that I want in return for something I have that it wants, with neither of us starting owing the other a duty,

        Government takes what I have by force without my permission and separately does actually owe a duty to me.

        I would suggest reading Locke on the social contract.
        There is no inherent reason that government is not voluntary.
        But voluntary does not mean if I do not choose this government I must sell all my property and move elsewhere.
        It means I should be free to opt out of the protections of government.

        What is mine is mine – whether government exists or not.
        When I enter into the social contract, I must pay for the protection of what is mine – by government and it must honor that obligation to protect what is mine.
        There is no reason I can not say – no. I will protect what is mine, myself, I do not want the protection of my property by government.
        But it is still my property. I am still free to exist as I currently do, I am just no longer protected from the preditions of others by government.

        Or we could go otherwise. There is no fundimental reason that we can not have independent competing governments – even serving the same teritory.
        We presume the concept of territorial sovereignity is inseparable from government.
        It is not.
        In fact organized crime frequently offers the same protections as government.
        When you pay the Mafia to protect you from being robbed – it is not merely protection from being robbed by the mafia, but by anyone else. If they fail to deliver someone else will take their place.

        It is likely – though not certain that the arrangements that we have are close to optimal – if they were not, we would have evolved differently.

        At the same time, that can not be certain. 400 years ago the forms of govenrment that dominate today did not exist. 400 years from now sovereign representative democracy could be as barbaraic as monarchies.

  25. November 3, 2015 6:36 pm

    Ah, certainly, in terms of mere quantity of executive orders, our current president is a piker. As was GW Bush, who, as you rightly note, is still very slightly ahead (although Obama is not done yet, and will likely “win” that race). JFK beat them both by a lot, if you look at the number of orders issued per year. FDR was a virtual E.O. machine, signing off on hundreds per year.

    Of course, most E.O’s are administrative and used for the purpose of expanding on congressional intent, not for the purpose of defying it. So, in that sense, the average E.O. is not particularly tyrannical. Some are a bit more overreaching, and a few, downright unconstitutional. Any honest debate on E.O’s would have to take those qualitative issues into account, and look at both the use and abuse of executive orders. Comparing only the numbers of E.O.’s issued is a useless talking point, and it doesn’t really have much bearing on the topic of compromise and consensus.

  26. Roby permalink
    November 4, 2015 9:05 am

    “If you take ten million from each of them, and divide it into thousand dollar shares for lower middle class citizens, guess what? They’re gonna spend that money on food or rent or consumer products – meaning the money is FLOWING through the economy. Which helps the economy grow. Which is a good thing, right.”

    Yes, right.

    I came across that statistic that the top 0.1% in the US now have approximately the the same net worth as the bottom 90%. I assumed that was wrong so I did a quick search and as far as I can quickly determine, its approximately correct.

    I spend about 0.1% of my time worrying about this issue but I think I am going to have to increase that. This is just nuts. Its so nuts that even conservatives are joining the liberals this time and making an issue of it.

    To ideological free market fanatics in love with various nearly prehistorical economic philosophers, well, you ain’t never gonna get through to them, their idealized free market is always the answer to every question. I just leave them to their happiness and deal with more sensible people.

    • November 4, 2015 9:46 am

      Roby, if you get a chance, I’m linking a couple of articles that explore this topic from a conservative viewpoint. I think it’s fair to say that, although both sides make an issue out of it, their views on root causes are different. For most sensible people, on either side of the spectrum, an analysis of causation has to come before proposals for solutions. ( Love affairs with prehistoric philosophers aside, of course….)

      ” One factor that separates conservatives from liberals is the extent to which they see the rich as having used unfair means to amass their wealth. Both sides will agree that in some cases, cheating and corruption are behind the wealth. However, conservatives seem to focus on the honest winners, liberals on the cheaters.”http://www.forbes.com/sites/billconerly/2014/09/04/economic-inequality-innovation-and-cronyism/2/

      “This jibes with what we know about free markets. If people can get rich by providing valuable things at good prices, then society will get more valuable things at good prices—and people across the income spectrum benefit. But if people get rich by pocketing subsidies and using the state to crush competitors, then they gained their wealth at the expense of everyone else.”
      http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/when-is-inequality-harmful-when-its-caused-by-cronyism/article/2540338

    • jbastiat permalink
      November 4, 2015 9:48 am

      OK, genius, tell me this. Where does this mythical net worth number come from? The government does not tax net worth, they tax income. So, the feds have SOME idea of income ( the amount that is reported) but no data on net worth.

      Any discussion of net worth is simply a bunch of estimates, made up by people with an agenda.

      Personally, I don’t give a damn how much money Donald Trump has or doesn’t have. I he made it legally, its his to keep (after taxes).

      That said, if the government can simply conscript property to “make things right” what limits does government really have?

      The answer rarely seems to bother progressives like yourself.

      • Roby permalink
        November 4, 2015 10:29 am

        “The answer rarely seems to bother progressives like yourself.”

        If by now you have not figured out that I’m not a progressive and in fact am at war with the Bernie Sanders mentality that we will just pass a bill to make everything equal, (see my post and hearty laugh above and the Scandinavians as an example for us to follow) then you are simply too much of a quasi-literate bonehead to bother going into any detailed discussion with.

        You read no better than Dave does and in general both of you continually put words in others mouths that they did not utter or even think. That is not an accomplishment, genius.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 4, 2015 1:49 pm

        Roby;

        Absent a compelling distinction rooted on some natural property or some clear principle between you and Sanders the fact that he is a bigger statist than you are is of little interest to me.

        You say you are not progressive, what does the label matter. Your knee jerk response to nearly all problems is to resort to the state and force. That is statism. If it is merely progressive-lite – so what ?

        Yes, I label everyone who thinks government is the knee jerk answer to most problems “progressive” and that is overly broad.

        But the distinction is not of critical difference.
        Fascists are not usually progressives – that does not make them good. And still they share alot of common ground with progressives.

        Regardless, those on the left – see themselves as the majority and everyone else as hateful right wing loons. Demanding that those you routinely call mysoginsts, and racists and hateful hating haters make fine distinctions between your views, hillaries views and sanders views is comical.

        No you are not the same. But the distinction is without much difference.

        Regardless, so long as you are prepared to use force to impose your views, you are the enemy and you are immoral.

    • dhlii permalink
      November 4, 2015 1:56 pm

      The Keynesian conception that spending drives the economy is BUNK.

      When ever has spending proven net stimulative ?

      Why isn’t japan growing ? Why is Greece in fiscal hell ?
      Why is it that every time nations have tried to spend themselves to prosperity it has ended horribly.

      Consumption is absolutely critical – but it is the END not the begining.
      It is the objective not the means.

      Yes, there is a circle – but all points are not identical.
      When you prime a pump, you can not start it efficiently by adding water anywhere.

      Any investor on the planet will tell you that consumption is a LAGGING indicator.

      When Buffet wants to know where the economy will be in 2 years, he looks at the rail transportation of coal and other raw materials. Not Walmart sales of swatches.

      • November 4, 2015 7:15 pm

        “Why is it that every time nations have tried to spend themselves to prosperity it has ended horribly. ”

        Wasn’t WWII the largest government spending program in our history? And didn’t it end in the most robust economic recovery in our history?

      • jbastiat permalink
        November 4, 2015 7:29 pm

        This is what happens when simple people seek simple solutions. Nice job , Jay.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 13, 2015 5:34 pm

        Lets presume you are correct about WWII (which you are not).

        So once in the entire history of Man spending was economically stimulative ?
        That is your selling point ?

        Barro has done extensive studies on the multipliers of government spending – including during WWII. He has never gotten an economic value at or above unity. All government spending is net economically negative. It is however true that military spending is the lest net negative.

        Past that modern scholarship on the great depression indicates it lasted through the war.

        WWII did do something very important economically, but that had nothing to do with spending.
        It is best explained by the remark of an Iraq Vet I once hired for sales work. I asked if he would have difficulty dealing with the rejection of cold calls. His response was, in Iraq, people shot at me. I can deal with getting hung up on.

        We returned from WWII having defeated the two world superpowers at the time.
        We did not beleive there was anything we could not do.
        And there wasn’t.

        Finally Paul Krugman offered this nonsense in a mini debate with Ron Paul – and got his clock cleaned.

        In 1946 we RADICALLY cut government spending many famous keynesians promised immediate economic collapse. And we did have a very mild post war recession.
        And then the economy took off.
        That would be AFTER the spending was CUT radically. Not after it increased dramatically.

        BTW the same thing happened in 1921, and …..

        Those bastions of conservatism (Hah) IMF and world Bank have also studied government spending.

        For every 10% of GDP that government spends above 19% of GDP, the rate of economic growth declines by 1% – this is robust accross the US, the OECD most of the world, and over the past 50 years. The baseline appears to be higher for monocultures – i.e. those nordic social democracies – but the trendline is still the same.

        There is actually an enormous body of evidence on this. There are myriads of arguments regarding why spending does not actually work.

        The Keynesians positing the same crap as is used to sell communism – if only we get the perfect leaders and it is implimented just exactly right, and ….

        In otherwords like communism and socialism keynesian economics does not work because politicians are imperfect – DUH !!!.

        I think it could not work even if they were, but it is irrelevant. Keynesian stimulus will never get implimneted in a way that actually conforms to keynesian economic theory so the discussion is purely theoretical.
        In the real world with real people it does nto work.

        I think better counter arguments to it are:
        It is extremely rare that you can add additional layers to a system and have it work more efficiently.
        The economic choices of politicians are NEVER as good as people spending their own money.
        Finally, keynesian stimulus like most government economic efforts requires that people be “fooled” to work, that why buy that you can spend now and not have to pay later.
        If we are not fooled then we factor the future costs of the spending into our current decisions.

      • November 4, 2015 7:50 pm

        I wasn’t offering a solution.
        I was offering a counter to his assertion.
        If economies are frozen, government spending may or may not be helpful.
        It may depend on how much they spend and on what they spend it.
        The scale of government spending during the New Deal wasn’t enough to kickstart the economy, though it did restore hope and confidence in the nation, and helped rebuild our highway and dam and electric infrastructure; but the massive size of government spending on the war effort DID supercharge the economy, and propelled us into a superpower nation. If you have problems with those assessments let’s hear them.

        But your immediate knee jerk response above is typical for a simpleton. Simple is as simple does.

      • jbastiat permalink
        November 4, 2015 9:52 pm

        You are just parroting what you heard. Polly want a cracker?

      • dhlii permalink
        November 13, 2015 5:42 pm

        Economies are never “frozen”.

        Total government spending in the 19th century was only above 5% of GDP during the Civil War when it reached 8%. Average growth in the 19th century was double the 20th.
        Total government spending during the new deal was 20% of GDP – 3 times the highest level before outside of War.

        During the last half of the 20th century growth is nearly inverse to govenrment spending.
        During the 80’s and 90’s as spending declined, growth increased, during the 21st century as spending increased growth decreased.

        The war made us a military superpower. The economic recovery had nothing to do with the war – except possibly psychologoically.

      • November 4, 2015 11:10 pm

        To quote W.F. Buckley: “I would like to take you seriously but to do so would affront your intelligence.” And mine as well.

      • jbastiat permalink
        November 5, 2015 9:55 am

        You are not that bright. There are many nations (most of the EU) that have tried to spend their way to prosperity. See it working there? Did it help the nations of the former Soviet Union?

        Yeah, not so much. If it were that easy, everyone would do it, which is precisely the problem you have when you print money and believe it will bring prosperity.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 13, 2015 5:46 pm

        What are you 8 ?

        You made and argument. It is bunk. It does not correspond to reality.
        And your response is snark ?

        Either defend your arguments or except they are wrong.

        There is a reason nearly the entire world has been looking to increase economic freedom and shrink government spending since 1980. It is because the data on government spending is damning. Only left wingnuts still beleive.
        Even your vaunted nordic social democracies have been trying to reduce the size of their governments.

  27. Roby permalink
    November 4, 2015 10:40 am

    Priscilla, analyzing root causes is fine and I’m all for it, but as we know the result is along the lines of two nearly completely non-coiniciding and very partial left and right realities, with many variations between even the two basic left and right flavors. This has been going on for centuries. It will continue for centuries.

    Net worth is a very unsolid concept, but even granting that, something here is truly and seriously out of wack, with both wealth and income distributions. I mention no solutions, I do not know them, I simply observe that both right and left have now made this an issue.

    Even an absolutely objective super genius with no ideological allegiance armed with infinite time and super computer resources would be taxed (no pun originally intended) to describe a reasonable fix, so I am not so arrogant or foolish to say that I know the answer.

    In fact our system as it stands is not producing a sustainable set of economic trends regarding the economic pressures and choices that the majority of the country experience. Again, I offer no simple-minded platitude fixes but something is going to give. I believe that Trump himself says the wealthiest Americans are getting a very cheap ride, which is what made many of his followers attracted to him. The ironies of that are incredible, but there you have it. This is a fundamental change in our political conversation.

    • November 4, 2015 11:50 am

      Well…..yeah, exactly. But, I think where political tempers start flaring is in the very non-rational, non-analytical zone of emotional reaction to hard realities.

      The truth is that Donald Trump is right about the wealthiest Americans getting a cheap ride, and that tax policy has a great deal to do with that, but that the simple, knee-jerk reaction of raising taxes on the rich and redistributing that money into welfare and entitlement programs (especially ones that don’t work) is not an effective way to solve the problem.

      I think that, for many liberals, there is great emotional satisfaction in punishing rich people through taxation – and that satisfaction is good enough for them. Proof that it actually solves the problem is not really necessary. And conservatives will argue that it doesn’t solve the problem, but they disagree on what actually will. Probably because “solving” income inequality is not a reasonable goal. It’s never going to happen. That is the hard reality.

    • dhlii permalink
      November 4, 2015 2:10 pm

      I can make no sense of your argument.

      I am reminded of a classmate in highschool. Smart guy. He did very well by writing complex material than the teachers could not understand – so they presumed he was smarter than they were (which he was) and that he knew what he was talking about (which he did not).

      Wealth is whatever we want and need. PERIOD. We define it – all of us.

      You fixate elsewhere on stimuluating consumption – the real importance of consumption is THAT IS WEALTH. The objective of the entire economy – the END not the start, is for each of us to maximize what is available to us to consume.

      You are busy fixated on the top .01% – even Adam Smith 250 years ago grasped that the uber rich are not all that wealthy. There are limits to what we can consume.
      There may be no limits to the amount of money we can have, but there is an upperbound to our ability to acheive personal value from it. And as Smith noted, beyond that limit the rich serve the rest of us. Warren Buffets efforts to increase his billions does nto make him any wealthier. He consume no more. But it makes many many other people wealthier.

      Concepts of wealth are not the slightest difficult. The only “issue” is that they are individual.

      Wealth is whatever we need and want. Your needs and mine are not the same.
      The Value you place on specific needs and wants is not the same as mine.

      Value is subjective.

      Yet you still fixate on the .01%.

      Well the standard of living of the entire world has DOUBLED in the past 4 decades.
      There is no other means of interpretting that than that there is about 4 times as much wealth.
      Twice as many people with twice as much wealth.

      Nor has that occured totally or mostly at the top. The wealth of the poor – accross the entire planet has doubled.

      The wealth of the poor in the US has doubled.

      And to the extent government has played any role in that at all, it has been that statists, socialist, government have failed and throughout the world today people have more freedom than ever before.

      Not enough, but still far more.

      • November 4, 2015 7:05 pm

        “Wealth is whatever we want and need. PERIOD. We define it – all of us.”

        Wealth’s relative! And if you don’t want nothin’, you can still be wealthy! Like the Gershwin song:

        I got plenty of nothing
        And nothing’s plenty for me
        I got no car – got no mule
        I got no misery.

        So can we equate wealth to mean a lack of misery?

        And would the 1% be miserable with 10 million instead of 100 million? After all, you say we can only get personal value for what we can directly consume. How many foie gras cheeseburgers can you consume in a lifetime?

        And mentioning Warren Buffet as you did, you do know he’s advocating higher taxes for the rich like himself, who benefit from the lower rates capital gains tax they pay. You OK with that?

      • dhlii permalink
        November 13, 2015 2:38 pm

        The closest collective approximation we can have for wealth is GDP.

        Because GDP is what we produce and what we produce must very closely approximate what we consume, and what we consume is the closest agregate approximation to what we want and need – because we must produce what we want and need.

        You can claim that wealth is whatever you wish for yourself.
        But you are not looking to make an individual claim, you are trying to make a collective claim and then optimize political policy based on it, and that is impossible because wealth can not be defined collectively.

        This is a common left wingnut error. Confusing the values of an individual with those of society. And worse still presuming that some number of us are entitled to impose our values on all by force.

      • November 13, 2015 4:16 pm

        My Lyrics-quote was tongue in cheek.
        So I’m not sure what your point is???

      • November 13, 2015 5:22 pm

        Additional correction to your formula
        GDP=What we produce
        What we produce = What we consume
        What we consume = What we want or need
        BUT Add the following
        What we want or need = what we spend
        What we spend = what we make or finance
        What we finance = excess of what we make
        Excess of what we make = Excess spending
        Excess spending = excess debt
        Excess debt = Bankruptcy
        Bankruptcy = Reduced GDP

      • dhlii permalink
        November 14, 2015 6:46 pm

        While the other things you added are OK until you get to “Excess”.
        They are also irrelevant.
        And the excess remarks point out why.

        The purpose of a free market is to optimally allocate resources to produce what we want an need in proportion to the same of each of our individual preferences.
        There is no “perfect market”, but no other scheme besides the market comes close.

        The left fixates (sometimes) on democracy. The market is essentially a system by which we vote for what we want.
        But it is not one person, one vote, for one office.
        It is a system where each of us has votes based on the value we have created that others want, and we may cast those votes however we wish.
        We can cast many votes for one thing that is very very important to us, and few for things that are not.

        Regardless, we have the votes that we have earned based on what we have produced that others value, and we allocate them toward what we want an need according to our own personal preferences.

        The results must inherently be less than perfect.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 14, 2015 6:59 pm

        I would also note that according to the laws of supply and demand there is no such thing as waste, only inefficiency.

        For every quantitiy of something produced there is a price it will sell at.

        Further often real waste itself become an input to produce something of value.

        We have no laws requiring US businesses to recycle – we do not need them.

        When a farmer in Mexico has a chicken for dinner 50% of that chicken goes in the garbage.
        When Tyson takes a chicken into one of its plants, 98% of that chicken turns into a product of some kind. The toxic chemicals that one industry produces are valuable raw materials for another.

        Whatever it is that you identify as waste – at some quantity and some price is either a product, or a raw material to make another product.

        Further, progress is a trial and error process. How many businesses went bankrupt or had to dump tons of unwanted goods as year after year the computer industry proclaimed the year of the tablet. Until finally the elements came together in a way that was sufficiently valueable to people.

        Excess, waste, malinvestment, bankruptcy are all steps towards the next great thing.

        When resources are being used inefficiently – when they are being used to produce less value than they could be, Bankruptcy and similar turmoil is the means of freeing those resources for better uses.

        This is actually basic economics. Our politicians fret over the financial crisis and how to prevent a future one. Yet, that is quite trivial – bad monetary policy creates economic bubbles – malinvestment and eventually those bubbles will burst.

        While wall street is not some paragon of virtue, its only impact on the “great recession” was minor choices that affected minor details about how it played out.
        Staring in 2007 housing values dropped by approximately $11T. Once that started a serious economic “shock” was inevitable. You can not remove 2/3 of US yearly GDP from our balance sheet with only a hiccup.

      • November 14, 2015 7:21 pm

        So I will put it in the simplest terms as possible. GDP is a combination of what we buy based on what we can afford and what we can not afford. If we buy too much of what we can not afford, that is a bad thing. Someone does not get paid.

        Right now most people and our country is spending way to much on what we can not afford.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 14, 2015 8:38 pm

        There are myriads of presumptions in your assertions.

        Are we acting individually, as a group or through government ?

        Regardless, or borrowing what we consume in agregate can not exceed what we produce – atleast not by very much or for very long.

        Borrowing is not magical. If you borrow, that means someone else lends.
        You are still dealing with the same total production and consumption.
        What you have is a lender trading what he can consume now based on what he has produced to you in return for your promise to give him even more of what you produce later.

        The same is true of government borrowing – the wealth to support the borroing did not appear by magic. What is true is that government is promising to pay later by taking what is necescary to pay from the rest of us.

        It is not you borrowing yourself, It is someone else borrowing and making you pay.

      • November 15, 2015 2:06 am

        to the limits of the lenders, then in many cases the borrows file bankruptcy because they have exceeded their ability sustain life as well as pay off debt. So the lenders lost on the transactions.

        Same with countries. Once they reach their limits where other countries and individuals will buy their debt, the default on their debt. They may not file bankruptcy but the lenders still lose in the transactions. When countries default, economic growth usually goes negative, jobs are lost resulting in individuals filing bankruptcy causing more lenders to lose money thus perpetuating the downward cycle of economic downturn toward depression.

        Whatever the economics is I will leave to the experts. I just go by the biblical passage that say “the borrow is slave to the lender”. This goes for countries also as once we reach our limits in debt financing America will be “slave” to those that own our debt.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 15, 2015 7:04 pm

        Now you are conflating the actions of government with those in the free market.

        Markets are not perfect, they make mistakes, but they do not do so systemically – atleast not on their own.
        Some portion of all loans will default. We have significant structural apparatus to address that. We diversify, as well as distribute risk, we vary interest rates with risk and demand collateral – amoung myriads of means of addressing this.
        some loans will fail, some individuals or companies will go bankrupt, but again absent a market externality the net will be positive.

        The actions of govenrment are not driven by the same forms of self interest.
        When politics drives decision making the aparatus that protects us from the imperfections of the market are corrupted. Further govenrment can easily drive all market participants in the same direction. Even where that direction is right – unless it is PERFECTLY right the long term consequences will be failure and the larger the divergence from perfection or the longer the error continues they greater the consequences.

        The two worst economic disasters in our history were preceded by long periods of strong economic growth. in both instances that growth was real. In both instances it was SLIGHTLY overstated by government easy money policies. In both instances the eventual conseqences were disasterous.

        It is not lending that is the problem, it is not the failure of some loans that is the problem.
        It is the failure to properly price the risk of loans. And it only takes a small error over a long period to create economic disaster. And only govenrment generally through poor monetary policy can cause a sustained mispricing of credit.

      • November 16, 2015 2:12 am

        OK…I am going to jump in fully and open this up for a more in depth discussion. So I will lead off by saying my philosophy concerning debt is that no debt is the desired level. I owe no one anything and have not owed anyone anything for 30+ years.. And I live what I would consider an upper middle class level.

        “The borrower is slave to the lender” and I am not slave to anyone. The only debt is the monthly purchases on a credit card we make so my wife can get air miles and pay that off monthly. Anything we bought we saved for and then wrote a check to purchase. So you now know my position on debt and why I comment the way I do.

        So from your point of view how much debt is acceptable for a family and a country to have. And at what level would you not give that family a loan (if you had excess cash to loan) or would not buy government bonds regardless of the interest those bonds were paying. At what level will the USA begin to have economic difficulties due to the deficits that are being run up today? Why will we not have the same issues as Greece? Can the USA withstand the massive pension fund payouts in the future when they are grossly underfunded today, both private and government programs And finally, if Simpson Bowles was not a good solution, then what is a good solution if we need to reduce the deficit? Or can we continue to run up debt to 5-6 trillion and still be strong? If so, when interest rates increase to 5%, how do we cover the $150 billion in interest cost (at 3 trillion debt level). Or the $300 billion a year when the debt totals 6 trillion.

        Let me know.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 16, 2015 4:24 pm

        You may live your own life as you choose. You may value or devalue debt however you wish, but you may not impose your own values on others by force.

        Regardless, it is trivial to argue the value of debt. It would not exist if it had no value. Business would be impossible or nearly impossible without it.

        As to your “at what level” argument – with respect to you personally that is your choice.

        With respect to voluntary institutions such as companies, unions, or other voluntary groups, again they are free to make their own choices.

        With respect to government, There is likely little if anything I would permit it to borrow for.
        But even backing away from that “ideological” position, Government borrowing (and lending) is in innumberable ways worse than private borrowing. Government borrowing (and lending) are deprived of the market discipline that requires striving to get a net benefit greater than the cost of the borrowing.

        With respect to Simpson-Bowles, while it is better than many proposals from both sides, that is not the same as good. Maybe “good enough” but not good.

        Its first problem is that much of its effect is from recommendations that are politically unfeasable. Innumerable political efforts suffer from this wishful thinking.

        Next it is heavily top down – politicians are constantly promising to cut costs – and Simpson Bowles contains nummerous proposals to cut costs. But even if these cuts were politically feasible, quite often they are not in reality feasible. Government efforts to cut costs, frequently reduce our freedom, they rarely actually reduce the cost of govenrment.

      • November 16, 2015 5:17 pm

        Well Well…I agree with you 100%!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
        1. If I have said anything where I tried to impose my debt positions on any other individual, I was not trying to do that.
        2.Yes business may not be able to survive without debt. I agree that most everyone has to have debt to buy a house. I had debt, but I paid it off as quickly as possible and when we were doing that, everyone could not understand why we did not take better vacations, buy newer cars and dine out more often like they did. Now we take much better vacations, I could buy a vary very expensive new car if I wanted and we can eat at any restaurant most anytime, Our friends wonder how we do it since they can not live like we live today nor have lived for the past 20 years. BUT>>>Business could also survive if people did not live pay check to pay check, did not live beyond their means and bought the same products, but handed over currency instead of a credit card after they had saved for it.
        3.”…..Companies, unions, or other voluntary groups, again they are free to make their own choices.” YES, but should the government be guaranteeing pensions and bailing them out like they did GM and AIG when they make bad business decisions. When GM’s pension runs out of money, should they step in?. Right now they are underfunded by $7.3 billion. Will the PBGC have enough funds to bail them out along with other companies or will the tax payors have to bail them out?
        3. As to government debt..totally agree, but like you said Simpson Bowles was not the end to end all debt. It was a compromise to try and get others to begin the process of cutting the deficit. Since politicians are concerned about their careers, their party and then the country in that order, they will do nothing controversial that jeopardizes their reelection, their parties control of government and will do nothing to help the country if it goes against the first two.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 16, 2015 7:18 pm

        It is very important to distinguish between choices that we make either as individuals or as part of truly voluntary groups, and those that “we” make as government.

        Current federal Debt is over 18T – about 55K/person. Very few of us chose to go into that debt. But all of us are obligated to pay it. You have chosen in your personal life to avoid debt, but you are deprived of that choice by force in your public life.

        I need not run my personal life according to your values – fiscal or otherwise, nor do you need to run your according to mine. But what we do through government is imposed on all of us by force, whether we agree or not.

        I am free to leave my church, union, greenpeace or employer if I disagree with the choices they make. Contrary to what some here have said, I am not actually free to leave my country – even if I wanted to.

      • November 5, 2015 9:49 am

        Good grief, Jay, that is quite a crock. What is your point?

        Warren Buffet is the king of crony capitalists, playing the role of progressive tax policy advocate while avoiding mention of the many loopholes that keep guys like him from paying taxes on their billions – billions that come from capital gains, asset swaps, and other non-income related wealth. Spare us from the pious hypocrisy of tools like Buffet when it comes to tax reform.

        Very few would disagree that loopholes allowing the rich to avoid taxes need to be closed. What else you got?

      • jbastiat permalink
        November 5, 2015 9:53 am

        Priscilla: He has nothing, save his SS check.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 13, 2015 5:51 pm

        What few would agree or disagree with does nto alter what is true.

        In fact there are far far less loopholes for the rich to avoid taxes than ever.
        What we have today is far lower taxes and far fewer loopholes, the consequence has been higher growth and the rich paying a far larger share of the cost of government.
        The top 50% of tax payers pay 98% of the cost of government.

        I am not trying to sell you what Buffet of Gates SAY, but what they do.

        If you want to stimulate the economy it would be best to let those who have a proven track record of doing exactly that.

      • November 5, 2015 2:52 pm

        Now now, don’t disparage my Social Security check. It pays most of the utilities and insurance on the property I own in my LA neighborhood where this month the average listed home price was $1.7 million.

        But if my financial situation worsens I can live out of my Lexus SUV and park it next to Starbucks so I can access their WiFi for free and continue to read your elitist words of wisdom.

      • jbastiat permalink
        November 5, 2015 4:42 pm

        Everyone is successful, handsome, and in your case, really really tough on the Internet.
        Dream on Jay.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 14, 2015 2:38 pm

        Is this supposed to mean anything ?

        Wow, you own property in a highly inflated neighborhood, and drive a Lexus.
        You think no one else has had any meaningful success ?

        Regardless, would buying a home in an area that has been appreciating by more than twice the national average make you an expert on macro economics ?

        And how big is that 1.7M LA Home ? I would venture most of us have more and live in places that cost less.

        If buying where home inflation is high makes you a genius, what are those of us who live in places where cost of living is low, and you can buy and keep an awful lot of home for a fraction of your cost.

      • November 14, 2015 8:48 pm

        Why are you so petty?

      • November 15, 2015 5:20 pm

        Not Petty, you made a silly response, I pointed out its silliness.

      • November 5, 2015 3:31 pm

        Priscilla – I like Warren Buffett, because of his cronyism.

        If he’s a crony capitalist, I’m one of many crony investors benefiting from it (Berkshire earnings report comes out tomorrow, with expectations of another profitable outcome). He has a fiduciary responsibility to the shareholders to increase the value of the company, and if that means cozying up to whoever’s in power, so be it. Even if it’s Obama.

        And if he’s stealing from Peter with one hand, he’s donating to Paul with the other – most of his billions in personal wealth are being funneled into charitable foundations, with more to come after his death. So in balance isn’t he a Concerned Compassionate Crony Capitalist that Conservatives should be embracing and not Criticizing?

      • dhlii permalink
        November 14, 2015 2:48 pm

        You make without grasping it several important points.

        Buffet creates an enormous amount of value for others – and not just his shareholders.

        And the problem with Buffet and other’s like him’s crony capitalist behavior is not with THEM – what they are doing is what they are supposed to do. The objective of the market is to maximize value – if in the narrow sense that is best accomplished by cozying up to government that is not anti-capitalist, or even wrong.

        But it is actually wrong – both immoral, inethical and ineffectual for government to return the favor.

        We limit the power of government to limit the ability to rent it.

        Kudos to Buffet and Gates for their charitable efforts, but as myriads of other incredibly rich people have discovered, charity is extremely hard and quite often ineffectual.

        Buffet’s invested Billions improve the lives of hundreds of thousands, possibly millions.
        Moving it to charity actually reduces the net positive effect, but worse still would be handing it over to government.

        When you eliminate profit as the most accurate measure of success, waste and inefficiency increase, and accountability decreases.

        It is not an accident that the VA is killing people, the degree of accountability is almost non-existant. There is little reward for succeeding and little penalty for failure.

        And incentives actually matter.

      • November 14, 2015 6:45 pm

        “Buffet’s invested Billions improve the lives of hundreds of thousands, possibly millions.
        Moving it to charity actually reduces the net positive effect, but worse still would be handing it over to government.”

        You really are blockheaded.

        The positive net effect of NOT moving it to charity insures the people who really need help won’t get it.

        The majority of the charitable enterprises Gates and Buffet and the Clintons have been setting up are to improve the lives of the desperately poor and undernourished and often starving and mostly uneducated peoples of 3rd World countries. And to aid others in times of crisis after floods and earthquakes and outbreaks of disease.

        What part of that strategy escapes your Understanding?. Or lack of it.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 15, 2015 9:32 am

        You make the common error of completely ignoring the effects of the money you are moving where it is currently at.

        Over the past 40 years the population of the world has doubled, and the standard of living of the world has doubled. In some places like China it has improved 275 fold. 1.6B people hav e moved from the bottom of the third world to the bottom of the first world.

        None of those improvements are the results of government actions or charity.
        Even Adam Smith grasped that Free Markets would be the greatest factor to improve the lives of the least that had ever existed.

        Buffet and Gates’s billions invested improve the standard of living of large numbers of people.

        There record with respect to charity has been abysmally bad. Charity is extremely difficult. It is particularly difficult to do top down. Throwing a billion dollars at a problem does not just make it better.
        There are myriads of examples. The Aid given to Haiti after the earthquake was near double Haiti’s entire GDP yet the benefit was small to non-existent. There is compelling evidence that US foreign aide is actually destructive to the countries that receive it.
        Read “The Ugly American” – it reads like it was written in 2015 not 1957
        Gates has dumped billions into US education – and has had a few successes, but has also had some incredible failures. Oprah did the same in South Africa with horrible results.

        There can be no doubt that charity often has net positive results.
        But that says nothing about whether it produces results that are better than leaving the same resources where they were.

        Even measuring only one side of the ledger Charity fairs pretty badly. When you take both sides into account most large charitable efforts are abysmal failures.

        And govenrment aide suffers all the same flaws – on steriods.

        I have zero problem with helping others – I give significantly of my own time and money.
        I am then responsible for the net results, and if the benefits do not outweigh the costs, I personally suffer the losses.

        While even charity at the bottom often fails, it significantly outperforms top down charity.
        And regardless, it was done by free choice.

        Christ offers us the parable of the good samaritan, not of the nation state or NGO.

        Regardless, Gates and Buffet are entitled to take their billions and do as the please with them – even if the net result is overall harmful.

        You are not entitled to steal money from the rest of us to direct where in your view it will benefit others.

      • November 5, 2015 6:57 pm

        I’m all about criticizing the game, not the player, Jay. And, as oligarchs go, Buffet is more genial than most, cheerfully lecturing the peasants on how to invest their pitiful little savings and gladly validating liberals who want to “soak the rich” by claiming that the tax code should be changed to take more income from high earners. I’m sure he gets a good laugh at the poor fools who think that the “Buffet Rule” would ever apply to him.

        But honestly, he’s no conservative, compassionate or otherwise, although he’d gladly become one ,I’m sure, if that became necessary.

        Anyway, based on what you’ve said so far, about hating both parties and loving rich crony capitalist wheeler dealers, you should be a hugeTrump fan!

      • November 5, 2015 9:32 pm

        I’m a fan of Trump in the same way I’m a fan of the Penguin on the Gothem TV show – as in what kind of ‘crazy’ are they going to come up with now.

        Donald’s like a high velocity spinning top tossed onto a chessboard filled with staid pieces. I think he would make a great two-year President, enough time to shake up the system and get some positive reforms in the works, but not long enough to screw up the works. After two years he could go on TV and yank both his thumbs at himself and say “I’m Fired!”

      • dhlii permalink
        November 14, 2015 2:57 pm

        Your shallow understanding is laughable.

        I have repeatedly lauded Buffet for what he has accomplished – not what he has said.

        While it is the obligation of government not to allow itself to be bent to the will of those like Buffet that would rent it, Buffet for the most part has created wealth for himself and others with little cronyism or “oligarchy”.

        Not the slightest a Trump fan. Regardless, you seem to want to pigeonhole people into carcatures. There is not a current GOP candidate that I think is a good choice, and not one that is not likely a better choice than any democrat.

        Regardless, I am small ‘l’ libertarian.

        Less government, more individual liberty.

        I am far more afraid of what can be accomplished with the levers of a powerful government – whether crony capitalists or merely democratic or republican politicians are pulling them, than what Buffet can accomplish absent the power of govenrment on his own regardless of how much money he has.

  28. Roby permalink
    November 4, 2015 1:30 pm

    Sure, I’ve met those liberals, its not all of them, but yeah there is that flavor. I think they all sincerely think taxation of the rich works, any qualifications, such as how much or what type of taxation works to accomplish what end lies in details of dry economics that most people are not interested in, they just look at the wealth or income disparity and think that surely that cannot be healthy.

    If there is a nation on earth that does not have a tax code that somehow redistributes wealth, I would like to know about it. I do no take anyone seriously ( I don’t mean you Priscilla) who simply refuses to admit to the basic concept of tax based wealth redistribution, they are having a battle with reality, not with me.

    From what I’ve seen of Rubio’s tax proposals, as a for example, they redistribute wealth using tax money. How we do it is a matter for economists to sell to politicians to sell to voters, and I am not holding my breath for immediate success in reversing the trends, but the present trend really cannot continue and needs to be reversed. With the anger that a large group of conservative are directing at the rich, whoever they are, this cycle, there is a chance that some not minor policy changes are in our future.

  29. Roby permalink
    November 4, 2015 2:21 pm

    “Regardless, so long as you are prepared to use force to impose your views, you are the enemy and you are immoral.”

    Oh Please, poor old Loon. The force you are ranting about is the existence of government itself and its ability to tax. Your views are so far removed from the trajectory of history that they are relevant only to yourself and a small number of equally loony people.

    You are not my enemy, you are just some poor lost irrelevant soul who rants on the internet.

    “Absent a compelling distinction rooted on some natural property or some clear principle between you and Sanders the fact that he is a bigger statist than you are is of little interest to me.”

    My Dear Fellow, absent any ability to read or honestly analyze what other people write you are of no interest to me either. So, lets not exchange any more pointless words, Agreed?

  30. November 5, 2015 1:27 pm

    By the way, all of the arguing aside (for the moment)….what has happened to Bernie Sanders’ campaign? He was like a rock star before and immediately after the debate. And now, he’s like an afterthought. He even gave an interview to The Wall St Journal the other day……seriously, what happened to all of the insurgent socialist excitement over his campaign?

    • November 5, 2015 5:08 pm

      Media saturation?
      And he’s not that telegenic.
      Not yet as much slippage for the Donald.
      Who will be on Saturday Night Live this weekend.

      And maybe we’ll see Dr Carson propounding his unusual theories about the Egyptian Pyramids on the History Channel as well

      • November 5, 2015 7:01 pm

        Maybe, although I think he is quite telegenic in a crazy old guy way.

  31. November 7, 2015 12:32 pm

    I don’t support many of the lefts policies, but given a choice I would support Sanders over Clinton for two reasons. For 35 years we have either had a Bush or Clinton in the White House or running for the position. 41 was VP 1980-88, President 88-92, Clinton 92-00, Bush 00-08, Clinton running 08 and now again in 15. And although it was not the white house, was in the cabinet for 09-13. So for 1/2 of my lifetime, we have had two “royal” families dominating our politics and we are not Britain. The second reason is Sanders position on banking in this country. It was the end of Glass Steagall and the Community Investment Act that was the major contributor to the 08 downturn and since 08 the ;aws put on the books have made the big banks too big to fail even bigger. Fewer community banks exist today than in 08 and the ones left are bigger than ever. They need to be split up like they were in the 80’s before deregulation began. There are times that regulation does do some good. Hindsight is 20-20, but our government is blind since Glass Steagall was a product of bank insolvency in 20’s and 08 was the result of bank insolvency brought on by deregulation and now for the third time, we have banks bigger than ever. Clinton is in the pocket of Wall Street. I have seen many reports where Clinton has supposedly told Wall Street guru’s to not worry about what she says as she will not pursue what she is telling the public. Sanders wants the banks split up and they need to be.

    • November 7, 2015 11:24 pm

      If Hillary gets nominated for Prez by the Dems, she should have Bill as her VP.
      That would really make you crazy I bet.
      Clinton and Clinton on the same ticket would definitely keep it All In The Family!
      Far as I can tell, the 22nd Amendment doesn’t preclude a former two term president from being elected VP.
      Imagine the fun we’d have in the Conservative stove media with that 😆😂😇

      • November 8, 2015 12:21 am

        Jay, the 12th amendment takes care of Bill being VP. The last sentence of the 12th amendment states “But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States.”

        I don’t have any idea what you may think about 43 years of two families dominating our politics (8 more if elected in 2016 given our history of presidents being reelected), but I don’t think that is what our founding fathers envisioned when they drafted the constitution. In fact, I think they were trying to get away from royalty in 1776 with the Declaration of Independence and the finalization in 1788 of our constitution.

      • November 8, 2015 1:36 am

        Drat! no Clinton-Clinton duel candidacy! It would be more fun then a barrel of Trumps!

        I don’t have anywhere as much upset with the Bush-Clinton clutter as you do. And it looks like Jeb is about to get excluded from the succession sperm bank. So no White House Bush dynesty in sight, and that will eliminate half your ‘dynasty’ discomfort.

        And Bill Clinton was only a two termer, who went out under a purple cloud of blow-job-itis. For a decade after that the Democratic establishment shunned him. And Hillary was under the radar during most of her NY senatorial tenure. Not until she ran for president the first time did her political trajectory rise. So I don’t see the Clinton’s as having continuously dominated the political landscape; more like them rising, falling, and recovering. That’s often the way the political system always works.

        And now they’re back. And it’s likely Hillary will be the candidate. The question then becomes who will be her opponent, and which of the two will be the lesser evil as president.

        As far as what the Founders thought of family ties between presidents, two of our first six presidents were father-son: John Adams and John Quincy Adams.

        And the founders tlived in a different world then we do, Jefferson in one of his rambles talked about future generations having to restructure government to their changing needs: if necessary he advised tearing up the constitution and rewriting it.

      • jbastiat permalink
        November 8, 2015 10:09 am

        It speaks volume that a failed, lying, conniving bitch like HC will be the Dems nominee for POTUS.

        Similarly, it speaks volumes about you that you are fine about it.

      • November 8, 2015 12:54 pm

        Jay, you might not be as old as I am (and not many people are) so you may have not been old enough to be interested in politics in the 80’s. Most people really don’t get interested until they are old enough to realize government does play a role in their lives. That is probably when they begin making enough money from their jobs that the cut the government takes per month out of their pay is significant and could pay for a car payment, or if they are really wise at a young age, enough to adequately fund a retirement plan. Until that time there seems to be non interest in politics. So the first years of the Bush dynasty may not find its role in your thinking as it does mine.

        Yes Bill Clinton was a two termer, and the Clintons were out of the spot light for 8 years, but remember the Bush name was not mentioned much during the 90’s either. But it rose again and became the name of the President in 2000 (and just recently a final non-partisan study of voting in Florida confirmed Bushes victory after all these years). So we have had a period where the Clinton’s were in the background, but again that name has risen.

        I guess after Hillary has served as President it will be time for George P Bush, son of Jeb, who is now a politician in Texas to rise in popularity and run for President. And after that, Chelsea Clinton would be in line to continue the dynasty.

        One thing I would hope that happens when Hillary is elected is Bill stays in New York or where ever he lives today. When 43 was president, people wondered at times what 41 would have done or said in certain circumstances, but 41 was in Texas thousands of miles away. With Bill in the White House, that could be an issue wondering if Bill was part of decisions that Hillary was making. We all know that it won’t be pillow talk as those two probably have not slept together since Chelsea was conceived, but the thoughts that they could run into each other much more often than currently with both being in the White House could lead to questions as to his influence on decisions. Right now their relationship is like the CBS program “Good Wife”, but Bill is playing the role of the “Good Husband” pretending to be married and happy.

      • November 8, 2015 2:19 pm

        JBastiat:

        “It speaks volume that a failed, lying, conniving bitch like HC will be the Dems nominee for POTUS.”

        Just think of her of the female equivalent of Richard Nixon.

        A lying and conniving president can be an effective leader, if the lying and conniving are done on behalf of the nation.

        And if Hillary follows Bill’s lead we may once again see the federal deficit eliminated, and a booming business cycle like there was during her husband’s term of office. When me and everyone else in business were making money hand over fist with start-up companies.

        I’d like to see her run against Trump.

        That way I won’t be watching reruns of Blue Bloods and Longmire on Netflix, and can concentrate on the bile and vitriol from Fox and MSNBC.

      • jbastiat permalink
        November 8, 2015 2:25 pm

        I would rather not think of Richard Nixon, thanks. Dead, gone, and forgotten and more’s the better for it.

      • November 8, 2015 3:12 pm

        JBastiat:

        “Ah, the media. Lying for a living!”

        Ah, the Federalist lying as much or more than Politico.

        Or haven’t you been following the Sunday news interview shows and followup news reports?

        First, Carson was wrong about when and where he met with Westmoreland – if he ever did:

        Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson’s published account of having dinner with a top commander in the Vietnam War after marching in a Memorial Day parade in 1969 as a high school ROTC cadet in Detroit does not match historical records.

        In Carson’s 1990 best-selling autobiography, “Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story,” the neurosurgeon tells of being offered a scholarship to West Point as a high school senior sometime after having dinner with the U.S. Army’s chief of staff, Gen. William Westmoreland, on Memorial Day 1969.

        But Westmoreland’s personal schedule shows the general was not in Detroit on Memorial Day or during the days preceding and following the holiday.

        http://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/politics/2015/11/06/carsons-westmoreland-story-match-records/75328960/

        Second, there’s no confirmation from anyone anywhere anybody affiliated with West Point ever told he would be accepted there without the same kind of scrupulous review ALL West Point Candidates (with the exception of Medal of Honor children) go through.

        Third, there’s no confirmation he ever stabbed anyone, or tried to hit his mother in the head with a hammer, or was prone to other uncontrollable acts of violence.

        When Carson was interviewed by an NBC reporter about those claims today, and told none of those assertions of violence were confirmed by former friends and classmates or teachers, he again became defensive, and said that was because they weren’t witnesses to them; but when the reporter suggested Carson’s brother Curtis, a senior executive with Honeywell, certainly could confirm that kind of violent nature, Ben slip-slided away with the comment that his brother didn’t want to be bothered with press questions.

        Yeah, right. A brother who easily could release a statement, without interview, that Ben was a psychopathic serial-killer in the making until God rescued him (on a Saturday I’ll venture) but the brother continues to remain elusively silent on the matter.

        And Carson has also ‘modified’ the stabbing incident, saying it wasn’t a ‘friend’ he stabbed, but a ‘relative.’ If so, he certainly knows where to find that relative, or others related to him who could easily confirm it as well. So why hasn’t that happened already? It would put all this speculation to rest — unless Carson’s a Pathological Exaggerator and the brother and other relatives don’t want to lie about it..

        And what’s with Carson’s goofy assertion that the Pyramids were built to store grain, and not as symbolic Egyptian burial tombs? Trump brought that up today, on one of the news shows, pointing out that the pyramids are mostly built from solid stones, with narrow passages connecting a few larger chambers – certainly not structures designed to store grain. Here’s a schematic of the Great Pyramid at Giza, which is about 90% limestone and granite:

        https://www.google.com/search?q=egyptian+pyramid+diagram&tbm=isch&imgil=bCubw7g4vSLz8M%253A%253BGkhNMI-tgB1ZyM%253Bhttp%25253A%25252F%25252Fkiraonthenetz.deviantart.com%25252Fart%25252FGiza-Pyramid-Diagram-305277906&source=iu&pf=m&fir=bCubw7g4vSLz8M%253A%252CGkhNMI-tgB1ZyM%252C_&biw=768&bih=374&usg=__f8hfwh_oSp54c31D9nudXlD3KbY%3D&ved=0CDEQyjdqFQoTCL7l57TDgckCFU83iAodJDsEdw&ei=3Z0_Vv6CMs_uoASk9pC4Bw#imgrc=bCubw7g4vSLz8M%3A&usg=__f8hfwh_oSp54c31D9nudXlD3KbY%3D

        (sorry about the cluttered link)

        Next thing we’ll be hearing from Carson is that the Eiffel Tower is a tall clothes dryer, erected for the priests and nuns in the churches around the Champ de Mars in Paris to hang their wet socks and underwear.

      • November 9, 2015 7:34 pm

        And maybe this is a conspiracy by the Carson campaign staff to stir up this stuff today so when he is the nominee, it will be long gone like Hillary’s e-mail and Benghazi scandal.

        Interesting that I get Facebook postings from Carson’s Facebook account and he has provided documentation on most all of these issues. That’s more than most candidates would do.

  32. Roby permalink
    November 8, 2015 10:47 am

    “It speaks volume that a failed, lying, conniving bitch like HC will be the Dems nominee for POTUS.”

    JB, 99% of what you post here is at this level. Every once in a while you bother to write something that sounds like it was written by an educated person. Why not make those posts your goal and not the stuff that sounds like it was sent from a bar stool somewhere? Have some pride.

    • jbastiat permalink
      November 8, 2015 11:07 am

      Why? You are a broken record Roby, so there is NO chance of every altering your point of view. What would be the point of wasting my time with you and Jay?

      My posts are directed at your level of “thinking.”

      As for pride, it is one of the seven deadly sins, is it not? So is envy, the base commodity of progressives like you and Jay.

      • Roby permalink
        November 8, 2015 11:54 am

        “What would be the point of wasting my time with you and Jay?”

        Well, in spite of your rhetoric, you ARE “wasting your time” with us, so why not do it in a way that is not pathetic and actually corresponds to the level of a college professor?

        You are using the word progressive in the sense that Dave uses it that includes perhaps 70-80% of the voters, or pretty much everyone who believes that the US government should have any social spending of any kind. Now, I know that Dave is a great hero of yours and that his many kind remarks on your intellect and breadth of knowledge have perhaps prejudiced your thinking, but, honestly, calling the vast majority of people in this country progressives seems to be counter productive to your right wing crusade.

        Just sayin…

      • jbastiat permalink
        November 8, 2015 12:11 pm

        You have a very short or non-existent memory. Dave is no “hero” of mine and I have tangled with him many times on issues around being a libertarian and what that means. That said, he is more correct in his thinking that you will ever be.

        I am hardly “right wing” but that label allows you to dodge the failures of your own points of view. I have never said, nor implied that the US should not have “any social spending” and I defy you to find a post where I have done so. What the Feds actually do and how they do it is very much open to criticism. If you are not aware of how ineffective or inefficient government programs are, you are living under your own special rock.

        The vast majority of people in the US are not even able to grasp the notions of we speak of here and that includes you.

        And, Roby, you are never “just sayin.” Honesty is not your strong point either.

      • November 8, 2015 1:30 pm

        “As for pride, it is one of the seven deadly sins, is it not?”

        So you think the U.S. Marines are sinful?
        “The Few. The Proud. The Marines.”

        And as that prideful pitcher said: “It ain’t bragging if you can do it.” – Dizzy Dean

        And unlike you, as rigidly doctrinaire as the religious prosecutors at the Salem Witch Trials. I’m Progressive and Libertarian and Conservative and Moderate – depending on the issue. But you are a single-minded (make that half-minded) reactionary with an overall understanding of the world equivalent to Cotton Mather.

  33. Roby permalink
    November 8, 2015 12:34 pm

    Oh no, my memory is just fine, that was just me using sarcasm to try to draw you into to saying something, anything at all, in sober adultese.

    Actually, one of my favorite exchanges between you two led to a post from Dave that went along the lines of “Honestly, I am afraid to continue this conversation with you for fear of finding out how little you know about the things on which you are supposedly an expert.” The subject if I remember correctly, and I think I do, was the meaning of the actual Bastiat’s economic writings.

    You must be using progressive in the Dave sense when referring to me as a progressive, since I am not a progressive and loudly not a progressive and generally at war with the real actual progressives in my home state. To consider me a progressive you need to be either mentally challenged or just trying to get a rise out of me. I have no idea what ideology if any Jay champions, you could try asking him in adultese if you actually want to know

    You, on the other hand are most certainly a right winger or if you prefer it, very conservative consistently across all issues. Although you like to pose as a libertarian, you are not that and I say that not to get a rise out of you but because the sum of your posts support it. Libertarians are allegedly some kind of mixture of very conservative economic principles (or liberal in the older terminology of the 18th century) and liberal or at least highly tolerant social principles. I have never heard you articulate a social position that was not consistent with the most conservative interpretation of the Catholic church and even that position is liberal compared to your ideas of what to do about Mexicans crossing the border, as I believe that no Pope in modern history would suggested snipers mowing down women and children, not to mention men. I’ve never heard a word of tolerance or any form of socially liberal position in any of your many posts. As an example, true Libertarian principles would dictate that drugs should be legal and that gay couples should be treated just like anyone else, not ideas you would ever accept judging by your posts here.

    • jbastiat permalink
      November 8, 2015 2:08 pm

      No, you are still without memory and a simpleton to boot.

      To wit, your comment about the Catholic Church. The Church and I agree about that abortion is murder and that is pretty much about it. Given this dopey pope they have now, that too may fall to the wayside. Hey, why let a baby get in the way of socialism?

      Again, why don’t you keep your month shut so that you don’t keep making a fool of yourself.
      As for Mexicans crossing the border, I am for stopping them pretty much in any way possible.

      If you want to call me a right winger, you are free to do so. It matters not what you think since you think so little.

      You are, and will always be, a progressive. I know you can’t abide by the label, but, if the shoe fits.

      Now, why don’t you go back to waxing on the wonders of Bernie Sanders. You two should get a room.

      • Roby permalink
        November 8, 2015 2:30 pm

        Scuse me, but apparently your drinking problems and reading problems are getting out of control. You will not have to look hard to find my actual opinion of Bernie Sanders here. Its terrible easy and then you could say something that is based in fact. I can’t stand him, and have said so many times over the years. Unfortunately, you chose to post at the purely childish level of inventing things that anyone who can read will know to have no basis.

        You are living in an imaginary world fighting imaginary battles with things that aren’t so. Excuse my guess that you have been drinking, but if it isn’t drinking that’s behind your intellectual collapse, then what is? Apparently you were once a person who was educable and got educated and got hired to teach college. What you produce now is childish drivel. Scratch your surface and rather than the passionate educated thoughtfu expression and defense of conservative thinking that a man in your position would be expected to be able to produce and be proud to produce we get these laughable distortions.

        If you have the slightest self respect you will either not embarrass yourself by posting if you don’t want to make the effort write something that would pass for college writing or make posts that make an intelligent defense of your ideals, which is something you are either too lazy to do or just not capable of doing by now. Accusing someone who is clearly a long time detractor of Bernie Sanders of having a love affair with him is typical of your level and just intellectually pathetic, you appear to have no ammunition other than nonsense that you just make up.

      • jbastiat permalink
        November 8, 2015 3:08 pm

        No one has time for your ranting. You back to digging ditches.

  34. November 8, 2015 1:13 pm

    We are all losers. Look how far our candidates for President have sunk. Jimmy carter, Ronald Reagan and George Bush (41) never appeared on SNL to make an the ass of themselves like Clinton (Hillary) and Trump. The ones that have appeared, Ford, Sharpton, Huckabee, Forbes, McCain, and Huntsman all went on to lose. The only one to do this and win was Obama and had the economy not tanked in 08, then McCain could have been the only one to win. Either way, anyone that would appear on that program and degrade the Presidential office like they are doing does not deserves to be elected. That office is not a joke and should not be degraded in this manner.

    • Roby permalink
      November 8, 2015 1:24 pm

      I utterly and completely agree with you Ron, the office is not a joke and our declining American cultural level is truly depressing, I am happy to say that the entire lot of candidates is depressing and makes me fear for the future.

      Now, just to add another dimension, given the the realities of the treatment a person will receive once they are elected, its a very odd group of people who will want that job. That’s what we have received a really odd group of contestants, er, I mean contenders.

      We can resort to reading Mark Twain’s assessment of the politicians of his age if we wish to recover a little perspective, I guess, but it does not help me much to realize that politics has always attracted self-serving morally corrupt blowhards. All the same, there have been politicians in my lifetime who inspired a lot more admiration than today’s lot, almost all of whom fought in WWII. I hate to think we will need another world war to produce leaders with a character I could admire.

    • jbastiat permalink
      November 8, 2015 2:09 pm

      I agree. The current POTUS is classless in the extreme. He didn’t start the trend, but he perfected it.

      Dope!

    • November 8, 2015 3:45 pm

      My original and immediate reaction to those first appearances of candidates on SNL was the same as yours: undignified, un-presidential, stooping to burlesque-like lowest common denominators.

      But putting it into present-day media social perspective, it’s the equivalent of politicians baby-kissing and shoving hot-dogs or cotton candy into their mouths at state fairs – revered and reviled political customs, to show candidates are one of the guys or gals, and not aloof elitists, which is generally closer to the truth.

      And in fact, propriety and dignity are no longer pluses, in politics or everyday life. Reverse insults have replaced compliments as the primary form of greeting: “Dude, you’re looking like crap; ya better get more exercise or they’ll be carting you away in an ambulance.” And vulgarity has become the cross-cultural norm: the other day when I went to pick up a take-out pizza an impatient ten year old boy in the line ahead of me with his mother said to her: “Why are these f**k-heads at the counter so slow?” To which his Millennial Mom merely shrugged and nodded without chastisement for the vulgarity.

  35. November 8, 2015 3:46 pm

    I’m pretty confident that no regular TNM commenter is easily labeled as a stereotypical idealogue. Jay, not sure about you yet……

    Most of us are quite partisan when it comes to politics, however, and partisan politics can get pretty poisonous, especially when it comes to presidential politics. And, even when politics isn’t poisoning the well, it’s muddying the water (I’m proud that my metaphors there were only slightly mixed).

    I like to read stuff by Camille Paglia, the iconoclastic feminist writer, who teaches at University of The Arts in Philly. She describes herself as a committed Democrat, and she voted for Obama in 2008 (in fact, she was so gaga over him that year that I had to temporarily stop reading her essays, because it seemed as if she had lost her sense of reason and perspective).

    On the other hand, there are very few critics of Obama and the Democrats who are as on target and brutal as Paglia is. She was and is a fierce opponent of Obamacare, aggressively defends Republicans in Congress from accusations that they are “obstructionists,” and now considers Obama to be a failure as President. She’s also been unrelenting in her criticism of Hillary, calls her a fraud, and says that Bill is a “sex criminal”.

    That said, she’ll likely vote for Hillary, if she is the nominee ( I still hold out hope of an indictment). And, there you have it, the propensity of quite brilliant and thoughtful people to make highly emotional decisions when it comes to politics. We are all prone to that, I think.

    • Roby permalink
      November 8, 2015 4:03 pm

      “And, there you have it, the propensity of quite brilliant and thoughtful people to make highly emotional decisions when it comes to politics. We are all prone to that, I think.”

      Right on.

      Politics turns even normally sane decent people into raving jackasses on a regular basis. For some people it goes way too far and eats into the rest of their life and corrupts it, but they started out sane, smart, and decent. The antidote, such as it is, is a sense of humor, at least for me, along with the knowledge that I am just one person in a country of 350 million and am not responsible for the vast impersonal forces that move history.

      All the same I do go way too far at times, I become angry, even cruel.

    • November 8, 2015 9:00 pm

      Best I can describe myself is as an anti-ideologue.
      I believe the ideologues at both ends of the Right-Left spectrum are screwing up our country.

      • November 9, 2015 1:54 am

        Now that’s what I call a “Moderate”. Problem is we have few moderates running for office. How many Manchin’s can we identify in congress today. Even Ronald Reagan could not be nominated for the GOP ticket now with all the far right ideologues dominating the party. He compromised and the “C” word is the kiss of death for anyone running as a republican today.

        And there are even fewer like myself. Fiscal conservative and social liberal. Guess you can say I suffer from multiple personality disorder.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 14, 2015 3:18 pm

        So a moderate is someone without principles ?

      • November 14, 2015 6:28 pm

        Why would a moderate not have principles? A moderate is someone that has principles and is also smart enough to know that achieving some of their goals is better than standing on principles and refusing to compromise. Is it better to continue to fight on taxes and spending, never to reach a decision that could reduce deficit spending and allow the government to continue with spending and revenues based on legislation passed in prior years? Or is it better to understand one may not be able to achieve 100% of their spending cuts or achieve 100% of the revenue changes and compromise where they achieve 75% of their desired goals?

        In my definition, this is being a reasonable moderate that makes some progress toward a goal, unlike any unreasonable liberal or conservative that stands on principles without compromise and achieves nothing.

        As an actual example, both liberals and conservatives took an unreasonable stance on Simpson Bowles recommendations to cut the debt and deficit and achieved nothing. Had some moderate compromises took place, we may well have been on our way to a balanced budget.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 14, 2015 3:17 pm

        An ideologue is nothing more than someone who has and adheres to their principles.

        We admire those like Ghandi or Mother Theresa who have done so.

        What matters is the specific principles that one adheres to.

        One of my core principles is that “you may not use force against others except in defense of self and others”.

        Nearly all of us share that principle. But far to many of us are squishy on it.
        We allow that as individuals we can not use force against others merely to advance our interests or values, but lose sight of that principle as the group seeking to use force grows.

        Or we play semantic games, pretending that the dictates fo government are not force, but those of our employer or local shopkeeper are.

      • November 14, 2015 11:11 pm

        Ideologies are abstract compilations of systems of beliefs and intuitions generally applied to public matters. It’s a compilation of ideas that may or may not have validity. Therefore an ideologue is like a religious believer, who accepts the ideas as much on faith as reason and logic.

        This has been borne out by “Psychological research that increasingly suggests that ideologies reflect (unconscious) motivational processes, as opposed to the view that political convictions always reflect independent and unbiased thinking.”

        Ideologues tend to be rigid and fanatical. Like you.

        You can find more about it at Wikipedia

      • dhlii permalink
        November 15, 2015 6:13 pm

        And all this is true because you say so ?

        I would sugest learning something about epistemology.
        We may not be able to establish what is objectiviely true, but we can establish even in a relative framework, that something are more probably true than others, we can rank “beleifs” based on the probability that they are true or not.

        Grasping that your argument is then nonsense.
        Again truth and beleif are neither binary nor inherently opposite.

        Further, we can look at different principles and grasp the consequences systems that conform or reject those principles.

        As an example we can divide “beleif” or philosophical schemes based on the value they attach to individual freedom.

        You are free as an example to reject individual liberty as a foundational principle.
        But if you do, you are stuck with what flows from that rejection.
        You may not reject freedom as a principle, and still demand it.

        Once you accept individual liberty as a core value – and pretty much the entirety of western philosophy, law, government and politics does, myriads of other things flow from that.
        While that does not answer every question in existance, it does work to rank other values.
        More epistemology.

        I beleive in the primacy of individual liberty. constrained only in that we are not free to use force to infringe on the liberties of others. That again reflect much of western thought from atleast Locke forward

        That leads to an “ideology” as you note it is a matter of “beleif” but that “belief” is comparable to other “beleifs” and they do not compare as equal, further the alternative are not anything most of us in the west would accept.
        So it is likely that whether you admit it or not you share the same core value of individual liberty.

        As an experiment – try to conceive of a system of morality absent individual freedom ?
        Can you act morally without freedom ?

        Regardless, your diatribe against ideology is falling apart.
        It has two huge flaws.
        1). the presumption that because something is slightly less than absolute objective truth, that all values, beliefs and ideologies are inherently equal. That is nonsense and you know it. Are you claiming that the Nazi extermination of Jews can not be distinbguished from Mother Theresa, because both are “beleifs” ?
        2). Nearly all western schemes are premised on a high value to individual liberty. Put differently we share the same foundational values. If your secondary values conflict with your principles, your ideleogy is flawed by your own measures. Outside of some narrow magical beleifs, we do not reject logic, merely because we can not know absolute truth. If your personal ideology is self contradictory, it is false. If it is not, it has a much higher probability of being true.

    • November 9, 2015 1:19 am

      How very interesting. I just spent most of Tuesday at the court house waiting for my number to be called for Jury duty and there was a black man sitting next to me and we got into a conversation about family, work, etc. Then there was something on the news that started a conversation about politics and he said he voted for both Republicans and Democrats and he voted for the person he felt best for the office. He stated he also voted for Obama (like your friend) and said that was the worst decision he ever made. He also went on the say he does not like Hillary, but finds Sanders interesting because of his positions on big banks and the need for those to be downsized like they were in the 80’s and early 90’s. He also said he would support Sanders if he gave a creditable answer on how he would pay for all the give away programs he proposes and finds Carson interesting.

      Wouldn’t it be interesting to see a poll of blacks that supported Obama that now find that a bad vote.

      • November 9, 2015 2:54 pm

        Ron P: “Wouldn’t it be interesting to see a poll of blacks that supported Obama that now find that a bad vote.”

        This is the Gallup ‘Life Evaluation’ demographic poll you may find interesting.

        http://www.gallup.com/poll/186422/black-democrats-life-ratings-slip-during-obama-second-term.aspx?g_source=POLITICS&g_medium=topic&g_campaign=tiles

        It measures American’s Well-Being assessments in positive or negative terms in regard to Obama’s presidency (a more through explanation is provided at the bottom of the poll) for Black and White Republicans and Democrats. There has been some negative shift among blacks, starting in Obama’s second term, but not a lot.

        In separate ‘Approval’ polls Obama’s number have dropped overall among white Democrats and Republicans, but the drop among blacks has not been as steep. 80% of young blacks support him, and 85% percent of older blacks support him.

        Overall, Obama continue to have higher support among non-blacks 18 to 29 years.
        And surprise-surprise: among religious groups 72% of US Muslims approve of the job he is doing. At the other end, only 18% of Mormon’s approve.

      • November 9, 2015 3:18 pm

        This is some interesting data. They provide some statistical data that would seem to suggest that actions taken by the president improved their life, but then toward the last 2-3 paragraphs they bring in the word “may”. So that suggests that they did not ask some specific questions that would provide support as to why these changes occurred. They did mention the racial unrest as a possible cause for the decrease in the last couple years, but they were not sure themselves.

        I have not seen studies 20+ years since Ross Perot talked about the “sucking sounds” of jobs going to Mexico concerning the impact of jobs in America. I have seen numbers concerning the economic impact of NAFTA, but that takes into account corporate profits to minimum wage jobs. I would like to know what the impact on middle income wage earners was. And that same holds true to the this study. How many individuals were better off economically than they were in 2008? And did the economic policies of the president play a role in that improvement, or was it a result of a normal recovery from an economic downturn brought on by government policies initiated years before the collapse, like the end of Glass Steagall and the Community Investment Act of the 90’s? I suspect had NAFTA never been approved, GM and Ford . DeWalt and others may not have moved plants to Mexico and had the Glass Steagall repeal and the C.I.A. never been passed, black life ratings would not have been as low as they were in 2008. But that is pour speculation.

    • November 9, 2015 1:35 am

      “Most of us are quite partisan when it comes to politics, however, and partisan politics can get pretty poisonous”

      My grandfather always said if you want to keep friends and not make enemies of people you just met, “do not talk about politics and religion. Both will lead to fights”.

      The problem with social media is it makes it very easy for cowards to say things anonymously that they would not normally say to someones face. Even with a screen name, the person is not identified to them specifically. There is a difference in being partisan to that of someone that uses personal attacks that have no relationship to the subject being debated. We can debate (not like the personal attacks we see on the presidential debates) and discuss why we support certain positions or individuals. I remember months ago JB and I had a marathon discussion about personal choice, government interference in one person life and abortion. We did not change each others mind on the subject, but we both had a good discussion on our position on the subject. We did not get into the personal attacks so often associated with that subject all over social media.

      • jbastiat permalink
        November 9, 2015 8:52 am

        I remember that as well, Ron. I have always found your posts thoughtful and respectful and have tried to return in kind. Even when I don’t post, I find you and Priscilla well worth reading. That is a rarity on blogs in the main.

        Thanks.

        JB

      • November 9, 2015 1:57 pm

        Thanks. And I look forward to future debates where we end up agreeing to disagree. If only others could do the same, I think we could be much better off and maybe that would eventually work into the political social class as well.

      • Roby permalink
        November 9, 2015 9:03 am

        Ron, is there any specific person here you are thinking of as a coward making personal attacks or is that a general comment?

      • November 9, 2015 2:04 pm

        I am making a very general comment based on Twitter, Facebook and other social media outlets where one can read comments about specific issues and people who have never met each other are calling each other everything from A-Z in the dirty word dictionary. They have no facts to back up their comments, so making those comments makes them feel big. They are like the school bully that starts out calling all the other kids names and has a few other followers that makes them think they are important.

        Now from the number of comments from the “cowards” compared to those that comment on social media based on facts, I not sure “general” is a good description anymore. But that is where I am coming from.

    • dhlii permalink
      November 14, 2015 3:10 pm

      Paglia might want to read something about Public Choice.

      The inability of politicians to live up to our expectations is not accidental. It is structural.

      First because the people we would need to run a large powerful government and concoct and impliment the policies that require a large powerful government are precisely those no one sane would give power.

      When we are trying chose presidents, senators, or representatives, we should consider that their presence in the election means they revel in wielding power over others.

      Communists have been telling us for decades that communism works – if only we elect the right leaders. Any ideology that depends on near perfection in our leaders is bound to fail.

      Limited government works – though even it requires eternal vigalance, because even powerless criminals can do little harm.

      Powerful govenrment does nto work. Not fascism, not socialism, not whatever other form of statism you choose. Not with democrats in charge, not with republicans.

      The left rants at the horrors of unfettered capitalism. Name a single robber barron who has accomplished as much evil as Pol Pot, or Idi Amin ? To say nothing of Hitler, Stalin, Mao,

      We are seeking to cure acne in a patient with metastisized cancer.

      • November 15, 2015 12:05 am

        “Powerful govenrment doesnt work”

        Define Powerful.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 15, 2015 6:42 pm

        The precise defintion of power is irrelevant.

        Limited government has enormous public choice problems. Government functioning inside its legitimate constraints still requires substantial oversight, constant vigilance, and always watching the watchers. All fo that dictates enormous inefficiency. The last thing we want is efficient governemnt – the Holocaust is a demonstration of how efficient government works.

        As to what is “powerful government” again does nto matter – because however you define power the more of it government has the more all those problems that even limited government has amplify.

        The curve describing the relationship between the scale of government – measured either as spending or power, and the rate of growth of standard of living strongly resemble the upper half of an airfoil. The benefits of greater government rising rapidly from zero government to an early maximum and then slowly tapering off to nothing.

        You can define power however you wish – the curve is going to have the same shape.
        At best we are arguing about the location of the maximum.

      • November 17, 2015 2:57 pm

        “Limited government has enormous public choice problems. Government functioning inside its legitimate constraints still requires substantial oversight, constant vigilance, and always watching the watchers. All fo that dictates enormous inefficiency. The last thing we want is efficient governemnt – the Holocaust is a demonstration of how efficient government works.”

        There you go again, starting off making sense, then rapidly deteriorating into absurdity.
        Yes, governments (like businesses) require oversight, vigilance, and watchfulness of employees — and ALL organizations are susceptible to inefficiency. But to suggest to strive for efficient government is a formula for Holocaust is STUPID! You know, A-HOLE ANALOGY

        “The curve describing the relationship between the scale of government – measured either as spending or power, and the rate of growth of standard of living strongly resemble the upper half of an airfoil. The benefits of greater government rising rapidly from zero government to an early maximum and then slowly tapering off to nothing.”

        You have the parts of your airfoil analogy incompletely bollixed. Government is the jet engine (power) that propels an airplane. If the airfoil is designed properly, the plane (the system government oversees) will lift. If the proper amount of power is applied, the plane will fly. The POWER required is RELATIVE to the size of the plane and the distance it needs to travel. The first generation jet airlines required less powerful engines because the planes were smaller and traveled shorter distances; modern long-haul widebody aircraft require more powerful engines.

        This is true for modern governments as well. As societies become larger and more complex, the power (government) needed to keep them functioning must increase proportionately. And making inane statements about efficiency and Holocausts and coughing up generalizations about Big is Bad is dumb simplification.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 17, 2015 11:13 pm

        Do you have an argument besides “I say so” ?

        If my reductio ad absurdem is so clearly flawed demonstrate the flaw rather than merely claiming there must be one.

        It is a perfectly means of demonstrating the error of a premise – take that premise to its extreme conclusion.

        Either there is a clear limiting principle that prevents that, or the premise itself is flawed.

        The Nazi’s are a useful example for many things. Germany was an educated, white, westerned cultured country, with a democratic political system that followed a democratic process to hell.

        And yes, The Nazi’s are the penultimate example of efficient government.

        Regardless, is the efficient use of force something you are routinely comfortable with ?

      • dhlii permalink
        November 17, 2015 11:26 pm

        The airfoil was NOT an analogy. It is merely a familiar graphic that describes a particular curve.

        The graph of the scale of govenrment vs. the growth rate of standard of living strongly resembles an airfoil.

        Regardless, that curve is real, the data is real. It is not an analogy.

        And government is not an engine – jet or otherwise. Further all the power of govenrment comes from (and at the expense of) individual power – which is why the curve resemebles an airfoil.

        Reducing the power of people to use force against each other results in an improvement in our standard of living. But further reductions in the power of individuals comes at the expense of their standard of living.

        People are the engine, the power.

        And your complexity argument is totally and obviously upside down.

        As society becomes larger and more complex government is ever less able to manage it.
        Fortunately it is ever better at self regulation.

        Look arround at the real world.

        Just about every nutjob attack on libertarians likes to make the bogus claim that there is no functional example of libertarianism. We can argue about that but there actually is a huge example of functional anarcho-capitalism – that is the relationship of the nations of the world.
        There is no world government. And few sane people would claim their ought to be.
        The larger the scale the greater the degree of diversity the higher the complexity, the weaker government must be.

        Keep beating those straw men.

        Big government is bad – there is an enormous amount of data on that.

        In other things the effects of “biggness” are more ambiguous.

        I am arguing Jefferson – that government is best which governs least,
        not E.F Schumacher – Small is Beautiful.

  36. Roby permalink
    November 9, 2015 2:24 pm

    Ron, I don’t doubt that many of the posters that have much more interest in name calling than any kind of attempt to reason are actually cowards, repressed anti social people with so few personal skills that they get wacked when they speak in the real world so they take all their anger out in the virtual one.

    On the other hand, the coward label is a bit of a deflection of the issue that the trollish posters just lack human decency, intelligence, at least on the subject of politics, and generally have such empty lives that being obnoxious in an anonymous forum is there best entertainment. As well, when so many of the talking heads and paid opinion writers make their fame and fortune throwing obnoxious red meat adn pouring vitriol on those with opposing views it is not surprising that they have little clones who run around carrying on their crusade at the bottom of the tank, which unfortunately is what the vast majority of internet comment forums have become.

    My ideal forum would be one in which if a person cannot make a habit of making a patient and somewhat fact based (subjective I know) defense of their opinions and beliefs, and instead revert to purely negative posting most of the time, they would get tossed. Perhaps such as site would charge a token $5 yearly membership fee and revoke the memberships of those that abuse the forum.

    The number of people who do it because they are just plain nuts is also not low.

    • November 9, 2015 2:56 pm

      Well if could very likely be that “coward” is not the right label to pin on these individuals. I was comparing the posters to the kids in school that are the name callers that bully other kids into their way of acting and when the bullies do not have a following and they are confronted, they back down because words are the only thing that makes them ‘big”. So maybe I should label them as “small”.

      But whatever the reason, it is going over the line when we find this behavior in “normal” everyday life in adults from the media to those in high level executive positions. How can we expect to raise children that respect others when they have role models to follow like we have today. And add to the social media bullies the fact we support teams and TV;s broadcasters that pay millions to the likes of Greg Hardy, Adrian Peterson and Ray Rice who are heroes to many young men in america today at the same time attacking those like Dr. Carson who should be held in high esteem for making a life where most in his environment fail and we are totally screwed up.

      • November 9, 2015 4:23 pm

        “the likes of Greg Hardy, Adrian Peterson and Ray Rice”

        Ray Rice doesn’t belong on that list.
        He was the real victim in that media frenzy of feminist political correctness.
        His wife-girlfriend was responsible for escalating the confrontation:
        She slapped his face prior to entering the elevator;
        Inside it she berated him, insulted him, spit at him, and punched him in the face.
        He reflexively responded without thinking and KOed her.
        If he hadn’t punched back, under New Jersey law Janey could have been charged with battery..

        If the situation was exactly the same, but Rice was with a male friend the approximate size of his wife, and that friend escalated an argument and threw the first punch, would Ray Rice have been arrested and suspended and seen his football career destroyed? He’s a victim of feminist double-standard: women can assault men, but if they react in self-defense they are villains in the public eye.

        As to insults and name calling on political blogs, mud slinging and trash talking is as American as Apple Pie.

        As far back as the founding days, newspaper editors with contrary political views were vilifying each other in print with salacious outbursts, like this:

        “‘You sir, are a miserable and ragged vagabond … whose very appearance gives a disgustful idea of the collected dregs of corruptible meanness and filthy beggary, who would not dare be picked out of a ditch even by a good Samaritan!”

        That was from one editor attacking another who was slandering Thomas Jefferson by insinuating (accurately it turns out) that Jefferson was sexing-up his slave, Sally Hemings.

        Sometimes a good verbal slug-fest soothes the soul and stimulates the psyche. It does get tedious when the comments degenerate to the obnoxious levels of insult, calling posters stupid and dumb without backing up those assertions with persuasive argument – but even dweebs who do that can occasionally throw in a few interesting crumbs of opinion. And of course they’re slow moving targets for counter-punching, which balances out in the Universal Scorecard of Appropriate Behavior.

      • November 9, 2015 7:20 pm

        Sorry Jay, can’t buy your position on Ray Rice. Anyone as big and strong as he is could subdue a female in a heart beat without slapping, hitting or slugging her. Dragging someone out of an elevator like he did has no place in our society and I would not support any parent telling their son that what Ray Rice did was acceptable and showing them the video as an example of acceptable behavior. As for Adrian Peterson, i am more forgiving of that since I was switched many times by my mother with elm tree switches that hurt like hell and made red whelps on my legs..And the worst part about it was I had to pick the switch myself and bring it to her and if it was not the right size, I got to get another one. But neither of these situations are acceptable in our society today and these guys are NOT role models.

        As for comments on social media, maybe our society has accepted that behavior from some over our 200+ years. However, I believe one may say that two newspaper editors in a town would know each other and have been in personal contact at some time in their life and when this comment was made, most likely believed they would meet again some time. In our society, one has no idea who they are calling all kinds of names and degrading them since they could live 3000 miles apart.

        And I still think those that get personal are the ones without facts to back them up for the most part. Those with facts will argue their point on a civil level. Those without facts will argue on a personal level.

      • November 9, 2015 8:27 pm

        Ray Rice is 5’8″
        He only threw one punch.
        He threw it without thinking.
        After she smacked and punched him
        Plus he was drinking.
        POW,right in the kisser, as Jackie Gleason would say.
        Havent seen Anything as satisfying since James Cagney squished a grapefruit in that annoying dame’s face.

      • jbastiat permalink
        November 9, 2015 9:27 pm

        This post says much about you.

      • November 10, 2015 12:10 am

        I have always thought that the Ray Rice situation was handled very poorly from beginning to end, and that, when all was said and done, Rice was made to pay a draconian price not only for his own behavior, but for the inept and dishonest actions of Roger Goodell.

        That said, you can’t excuse what he did because he was drinking, or because “she hit him first.” Nothing happens in a vacuum, and people deserve forgiveness and second chances, but some mistakes are worse than others, and wife-beating, even if it only happens once, is a pretty bad one. And, seriously, Jay, “self-defense”? That’s just lame.

      • November 10, 2015 12:57 am

        I do find it interesting how one can make a comment about respect and our expectations as to respect when teaching kids to be respectful and it gets twisted to where the perp was actually the victim.

        As I stated and Jay responded to the issue of media bullies and how different people are “respected”:…..

        “And add to the social media bullies the fact we support teams and TV;s broadcasters that pay millions to the likes of Greg Hardy, Adrian Peterson and Ray Rice who are heroes to many young men in america today at the same time attacking those like Dr. Carson who should be held in high esteem for making a life where most in his environment fail and we are totally screwed up………”

        So for Jay and anyone else that is taking up for Ray Rice I will also say that any woman that (as Jay put it) “Inside it (the elevator)she berated him, insulted him, spit at him, and punched him in the face” ….is also disrespectful to the other party. You can be in a argument and not become physical.

        But Jay, the issue is respect for others and teaching kids to be respectful of others. We can’t teach that when we are calling each other every derogatory word in the dictionary, calling each other mentally challenged or any other personal attack. We can’t teach our kids respect when our kids see individuals like those I used as an example making millions in front of national audiences.

      • jbastiat permalink
        November 10, 2015 8:42 am

        You had me at Roger Goodell. He is clearly in need of remedial help and irrespective of the Ray Rice matter, he has not been good for the NFL.

      • November 10, 2015 2:17 pm

        Pricilla: I can’t agree with you associating the Rice incident with wife ‘beating.’

        To ‘beat’ is to hit repeatedly: the priest beat the student with a switch; the cop beat at the door with his fist.

        I’m certainly not defending wife beaters (and I hope you’re not defending husband beaters either). But a single punch is not a beating.

        When I first saw the TMZ elevator knockout, with editorialized headlines defining it as a ‘vicious punch’ to his fiancée’s face, knocking her out cold, and the aftermath video outside the elevator of Rice dragging the unconscious woman on the floor, like everyone else I thought this guy must be a brute and needs to pay for it.

        I should have been more circumspect – it was TMZ piece-mealing out the video after all. But when the complete video with the back-story of the ongoing argument and drinking was released, I saw it differently. And the way she confronted him in the elevator, literally getting in his face, spitting at him, shows she had no prior fear of him assaulting her – putting to rest any though he regularly assaulted her – if anything it indicated she may have been an initiator of violence in that relationship.

        In retrospect they’re both responsible for what happened, but Rice disproportionately paid for it, a victim of distorted news coverage inflamed by shrill condemnation from double-standard feminist forces only interested in fair behavior when it’s fair to women at male expense.

        I invested too much time responding to this incident on other blogs last year, and I don’t want to get bogged down in it again. But I will provide a final hypothetical to the double-standard knee-jerk reaction to it.

        Suppose instead of Ray Rice and his fiancée Janey in the elevator knock-out scenario we substitute female pro athlete Serena Williams and her ex rapper-boyfriend Common.
        Here’s a photo of the two, to put their physicality in perspective:

        If after an argumentative night of drinking, Common smacked Serena and cursed her and spit in her face in the elevator, and Serena knocked him out with one punch, when that story reached the media do you really believe she would have been jumped on and attacked by the public like Rice was? Do you think she would have been arrested, and suspended from tennis? Or more likely, wouldn’t she have been adulated far and wide as justified for defending herself against male verbal and physical assault? Wouldn’t she be held up as an example for other woman to emulate when confronted by masculine aggressiveness?

        You bet she would. And probably would have been invited to the White House for a medal and photo op.

      • jbastiat permalink
        November 10, 2015 3:36 pm

        Debating the finer points of punching our your woman.

        Hmmm.

      • November 10, 2015 2:27 pm

        jbastiat: “This post says much about you.”

        It says I’m not taken in by overly edited news videos without first investigating them for authenticity. But you on the other hand seem to swallow any propaganda that fits your narrow beliefs — like the heavily edited Planned Parenthood videos that have proved to be 90% distorted BS.

      • jbastiat permalink
        November 10, 2015 3:38 pm

        So, you are saying that it might be OK to murder unborn children if you don’t sell their body parts, or you do, but you don’t enjoy it all that much.

        You are a real human being there Jay.

        Still beating your wife?

      • November 10, 2015 9:36 pm

        The unborn are not children. They are developing fetuses. If you consider a squiggly 12 week fetus a ‘child’ because that’s what it would become if born, and therefor say it has to be treated legally like a born child, and terminating it is murder – then the same kind of assumptive leap can be made to consider you a corpse NOW because you will certainly become one in the future, and treat you accordingly in the present. And since an already dead person can’t be murdered, couldn’t you be used for target practice at a neighborhood shooting range, and the worst crime the shooters would face is desecrating a corpse? And couldn’t your wife have an affair or a series of affairs and not be accused of adultry, as you can’t cheat on a dead man?

        Get the point? You don’t get to define fetal termination through the distorted lens of anti-abortion terminology.

      • jbastiat permalink
        November 10, 2015 11:32 pm

        You are one sick son of a bitch.

      • November 11, 2015 1:29 am

        Jay. To preface what I am going to say, please keep in mind that I do not personally support abortion and would caution any woman before she had one, but my libertarian leanings also drives me to stay out of ones personal business. I have stated this position a number of times on this site.

        Up until a couple days ago, I was accepting of a 26 week abortion because everything I had heard was until 26 week, the fetus is not viable and could not live. Then my daughter, that is a NICU nurse, posted a group of pictures celebrating the past year of children born prematurely at the hospital (with parental approval). Many of these kids were born at 22 , 23, 24, 25 weeks along with the 26-later gestation’s. So I am back to the question as to when an abortion is just cells and when an abortion is murder of a child that could be living given a chance, even at 22 weeks. The one that really got to me was the one where the father was holding the 22 week child in the palm of his hand while out of the incubator and the child was smaller than the width of his hand.

        So given that information that life does begin outside the womb at 22 weeks proven, what is to say one at 20 weeks or 21 weeks could not survive given our technology today. So I am back to my question as to when the government should be involved in controlling abortions and when they should be allowed. I know now that 22 weeks is not just a blob of cells.

      • November 11, 2015 1:06 pm

        I don’t have an objection to moving back the time limit for legal abortion. It will barely affect the number of legal abortions performed yearly, the majority performed well under 20 weeks.

        Here’s some statistics, from 2011, but I’ve seen more recent statistics in the same range:

        http://www.cdc.gov/Reproductivehealth/Data_Stats/index.htm

        “Women in their twenties accounted for the majority of abortions in 2011 and throughout the period of analysis. The majority of abortions in 2011 took place early in gestation. In 2011, most abortions (91.4%) were performed at ≤13 weeks’ gestation; a smaller number of abortions (7.3%) were performed at 14–20 weeks’ gestation, and even fewer (1.4%) were performed at ≥21 weeks’ gestation. In 2011, 19.1% of all abortions were medical abortions.”

        Only 1.4% of abortions occurred under your 22 week window – but I’m guessing a majority of those were for medical reasons.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 14, 2015 3:31 pm

        The “born” are not children. Human development is something gradual that starts at conception and peaks in early adulthood.

        Passing voluntarily through the birth canal does not magically determine when one is fully human and attains the rights of a human being.

        I would suggest reading the world of Walter Block and Lawrence tribe – who essentially from the opposite end of the political spectrum arrived at the same result.

        Whether a fetus is a human or not is irrelevant. Western law and tradition does not compel one person to sustain the life of another, not even if they have agreed to do so.
        A person is always allowed to withdraw the support of their body to another.
        BUT there is not right to kill a fetus, only to deprive it of the use of your body.
        And the state is permitted to step in an say that absent measurably greater risk to the women the termination of the use of her body can be done in the fashion most likely to allow the fetus to survive. Whether we wish the state to chose to do that, and who must provide support to the fetus afterwards are completely different questions.

        Regardless, there is a right not to be pregnant. There is not a right not to be a parent after conception.

      • November 14, 2015 6:59 pm

        This is the goofiest most incoherent post of yours I have read.
        I’d point out the sour notes of illogic but I want to get over to the Apple Store and look at the new iPad 2 Pro, now available for sale. Maybe on a larger tablet screen your ideas won’t seem so scrambled.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 15, 2015 9:12 am

        If my logic is in error it should be trivial to demonstrate.

        My point which you fail to grasp is that few things are binary.
        Neither the left or right are prepared to accept that there is no some single defining moment at which cells transform into a human.

        I doubt that an iPad 2 Pro will make the obvious any more comprehensible to you if you can not grasp it on whatever you are using now.

        Technology changes the moment at which a fetus can survive outside the womans body.
        And will continue to drive that down – if that is something we value.

        But it does not alter the extent to which a 16 week or 28 week fetus is human.

      • November 15, 2015 2:09 pm

        “I doubt that an iPad 2 Pro will make the obvious any more comprehensible to you if you can not grasp it on whatever you are using now”

        I’ looking at the iPad like a foam back pillow on a long bus ride, sitting next to an opinionated narcissist who won’t shut up – more for comfort then comprehensibility.

      • November 14, 2015 10:50 pm

        The “born” are not children. Human development is something gradual that starts at conception and peaks in early adulthood.”

        So you agree, a fetus is not an unborn child. And terminating a fetus, especially one that is not medically viable, is not murder. Correct?

        “Whether a fetus is a human or not is irrelevant.”

        Huh? Irrelevant to what? Where does the word ‘human’ come up in regard to the abortion laws, which is the primary topic of the thread?

        “Western law and tradition does not compel one person to sustain the life of another, not even if they have agreed to do so… A person is always allowed to withdraw the support of their body to another… BUT there is not right to kill a fetus, only to deprive it of the use of your body.”

        This is gobblygook. Are you drunk?
        MODERN Western Law, in almost ALL the Western-style democracies, permits abortion of the fetus at various degrees of pregnancy. So there certainly IS legal right to terminate ‘kill’ a fetus.

        “And the state is permitted to step in an say that absent measurably greater risk to the women the termination of the use of her body can be done in the fashion most likely to allow the fetus to survive.”

        Which is the law in most US states and most European nations that have legal abortion laws. Have you read the Partial Birth Abortion Law or not? So, again, what’s your point?

      • dhlii permalink
        November 15, 2015 5:40 pm

        Still trying to make these binary arguments with respect to things that are not binary.

        So lets address what I have actually said.

        I do not care whether we are dealing with something inarguably fully human or a blob of protoplasm. None of us can be compelled to provide our bodies to sustain the life of another by force. We can not be compelled to do so even if we agreed to do so.

        So a woman has an absolute right to evict a fetus from her womb at any time.
        What she does not have is the right to kill it or requires its death.

        We do not allow the killing of humans at whim, or for our convenience.
        We do not allow the killing of higher animals, at whim or merely for our convenience – though we have more latitude than with humans.

        Whether a fetus is fully human or only partly human is a small factor. I do not personally think, and science supports, that babies after birth are not “fully human” but we still do nto tolerate their killing.

        You are fixated on ABORTION law – which is a small though vigorously fought portion of the law regarding our rights and duties to other humans, and our rights to our own bodies.

        Can you be compelled to give one of your kidney’s to someone who needs it ?
        Not by law. If your rights in your own body are so great that you are entitled to refuse the use of your body to someone inarguably human who will die absent that use, then why can you not also refuse the use of your body to a fetus – human or not ?

        At the same time, your refusal to provide another human with your kidney while it might result in their death, is NOT the right to condemn them to death. They are free to seek dialysis, or get another kidney elsewhere.

        Your right to deprive a fetus the use of your body to sustain its life, might result in the death of that fetus. But you still do not have the right to condemn the fetus to death. Others or the state are free to step in and so long as they do not increase the burden or risk to your body, seek to sustain the life of that fetus.
        Further having done so, they arguably might have the right to compel you to be its mother or atleast provide it support (just as biological fathers may be compelled to support their offspring),

        Put more generally, a woman has the absolute right to whatever control of her own body she can excercise – but only her own body. The fetus is not her own body. She can remove the support of her body – even if that may result in its death, but she can not further act to kill it.

        You get hung up on irrelevant questions – such as whether the fetus is human.
        That changes nothing.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 15, 2015 5:50 pm

        You are confusing specific bits of modern legislation with the rights and centuries of legal traditions.

        Laws are not moral or ethical merely because they are enacted.
        Citing some specific does nothing beyond demonstrate the state of the law.

        Republicans in many states have passed very restrictive laws – these laws are as valid or invalid as those you cite.

        If you wish to reject one set of laws and rely on another – you need some basis beside the law itself for doing so. Otherwise you are argument nonsense.

      • November 10, 2015 6:34 pm

        Heh, you may have picked, in Serena Williams, the one female athlete that a lot of men would be afraid to get into a physical altercation with ~ well, her and Ronda Rousey…….

        And there are an awful lot of people who were and still are predisposed to sympathize with Rice, despite the media frenzy over the whole incident. But most of them still condemn what he did. Probably because knocking the mother of your child out cold and dragging her, unconscious, from an elevator like a sack of potatoes (even if she’s been “asking for it”) is worthy of condemnation.

        But yeah, it’s an old story, and I get your point.

        The PP videos, on the other hand? Not so much BS. Where do you get that 90% figure from (don’t say the PP analysis!)?

      • jbastiat permalink
        November 10, 2015 6:44 pm

        I wonder if Ray Rice has the stones to throw with Ronda. Bet not!

      • November 10, 2015 8:51 pm

        90% BS that the videos show Fetal tissue was a PP profit making enterprise. Let’s make it 100% BS on that. They were losing money on those transactions.

        Those Gotcha tapes are dishonestly edited. When the first one was was released I was in my neighborhood bar with some of the regulars, professional TV and film editors, who in the past have worked on ‘reality’ shows like Scared Straight and American Chopper. They had downloaded the video onto a laptop containing an editing program they use (I think it was Avid or something like that) and they were laughing In discovery of tricks of their trade, pointing out charts on the screen indicating splices and speed changes and other alterations they said indicated heavy handed editing.

        For perspective, I’m strongly in favor of keeping the abortion laws as they are now. Late term abortions only in the case of rape, incest, dire fetal deformity and/or danger to the woman’s health, etc. other then late term, no restrictions if the woman wants to terminate – which seems to be the law in most of the industrial democracies, and even in the regressive regime of Iran.

      • jbastiat permalink
        November 10, 2015 11:31 pm

        Who cares what you “think” and I use that word loosely.

      • November 11, 2015 10:56 am

        I’ll take that weak reply as a concession I’m right.

      • November 10, 2015 10:09 pm

        A couple of things….I have no doubt that the videos were edited. But, as you have referenced, there is editing and there is dishonest editing. (My son is an editor, and it’s funny that you should mention Avid, since I remember him saying that he had never used it until he starting getting jobs in reality tv – I wonder what makes that the choice over Final Cut and Premiere?) Anyway, if you’ve got 5 hours of film, and you’ve got to get it down to 10 minutes, some “heavy editing”, as PP has alleged, is going to take place. But, unless those edits change the actual content of what is being said, then I would not call it “dishonest” editing. I would call it evidence of PP breaking the law, by performing illegal partial birth abortions and also by manipulating abortive techniques in order to harvest fetal organs more effectively.

        If PP’s losing money, then maybe they’re spending too much on luxe offices and fancy luncheons with phony medical research reps. I thought they were providing “valuable women’s health services”….that’s why they get $60M of taxpayer money, no?

      • dhlii permalink
        November 14, 2015 8:32 pm

        Of course they were edited.
        What was not done is that they were not edited deceptively.
        Numerous experts in these fields have reviewed them.
        They have not be altered in anyway that changes their meaning.
        The editing has been what one would expect to reduce large volumes of raw material to the salient material for the point being made.

        It is not the job of these groups to edit their videos in the light most favorable to PP.
        They are edited in the way that best makes the point they wish to make.
        There is nothing deceptive or immoral and unethical about that.
        Regardless, the full videos are available to anyone who wants to watch hours to get a few minutes of relevant footage.

        Overall, I have no problem with what PP is doing, though if I did I would be infront of their clinics protesting.
        But I have major problems with being forced to pay for it.

        This is one of the gigantic idiocies of the left.
        Government is not “what we choose to do together” – that would be our churches, businesses, charities,

        Government is force and it is what we are forced to do together.

        That should be as limited as possible.
        What government does should not be what 50% of us +1 want.
        It should be what 90% of us want – there are actual studies on that, a law vigorusly opposed by 11% of the population is essentially unenforceable.

        Remember whenever you make a law, that means that you are prepared to arrest, lockup, even kill those who will not obey that law.
        Eric Garner died for selling lose cigarettes, is the laws regarding the sale of lose cigarettes sufficiently important we should kill people for disobeying them ?
        That is a question you should ask of every law you pass and every program you impliment.
        Government is not an exchange – we are able to do that perfectly fine voluntarily.
        We do nto trade WIC for ExIm or we should not be.

        Either a program is important enough to kill for if we have to, or it is probably not something govenrment should do.

        Most of us would accept that laws barring rape, murder, theft are things we are prepared to kill for if we have to.

      • November 15, 2015 1:00 am

        “They have not be altered in anyway that changes their meaning.”

        Not true.

        When the first tape was released it did not contain two or three incidents where the PP exec told the phony actors that PP was only charging enough to cover expenses, that profit wasn’t a concern, that even if offered double the present amounts the clinics would not accept higher payment. Only after a transcript showing those conversations reached the media was a second unedited tape released, containing them.

        Also, the full unedited tapes of the interviews has never been provided for inspection, so nobody knows what else has been edited out.

        And what about those photos and clips of aborted fetuses that were spliced into the videos that were not taken at any PP clinic, but inserted to give the false impression they were? One fetus was a pre-mee, not aborted, but no clarification was offered.

        And whose experts are you relying on for your assertion they haven’t been edited in any way to change the context?

      • November 15, 2015 10:01 am

        Jay, I’m not sure where you get your info. The unedited video is available. The CMP, which made and published the videos, states that right on its website,
        http://www.centerformedicalprogress.org/cmp/investigative-footage/

        And Vox, a liberal website that supports PP, states that it is 12 hours of footage, and this is the report by their writer who watched all 12 hours.
        http://www.vox.com/2015/8/13/9140849/planned-parenthood-videos-unedited

      • November 15, 2015 3:12 pm

        Priscilla, I’m starting to worry about you ability to read objectively.

        The VOX link you provided states the following in the opening page (my CAPS):

        “This summer, the Center for Medical Progress has released FIVE 10-MINUTE SEGMENTS that purport to show that Planned Parenthood profits from procuring fetal tissue for researchers. They are full of moments like the one leading the first video, conversations about fetal tissues and organs that feel grisly against the backdrop of wine and a light lunch.

        But behind those excerpts are just over 12 HOURS OF VIDEO.”

        The 10 minute videos “ARE EDITED TO MAKE PLANNED PARENTHOOD LOOK BAD.”

        Got it? The didn’t release the 12 hour video until AFTER the firestorm erupted when the media saw a copy of the 12 hour transcript. By then thousands of hours of media excerpts from the first edited video had been broadcast, distorting PPs role in providing fetal tissue for medical experimentation.

        The VOX articles lists numerous segments from the 12 hour video backing PPs assertions that they’re not interested in profiting from the fetal transactions – but they were EDITED OUT of the first released edited sting version.

        Also EDITED OUT was the section showing it was the fake buyers who suggested ordering that bottle of wine that caused so much outrage on right wing media.

        Also edited out were the portions showing the CMP fake buyers were the ones who constantly brought up discussions of money, and PPs assertion that they saw fetal tissue donation as something positive that would aid medical research was also omitted.

        How can you assert that was not a hatchet editing job to distort the actual conversations?

        And BTW, the full unedited video may have been edited as well – there’s no verification of that from anyone but CMP

      • dhlii permalink
        November 15, 2015 6:53 pm

        Since you like appeals to authority, your non-sense has been repeatedly debunked by “non-partisan” forensics experts.

        Lets start with the nonsense about editing out some remarks.

        Why would one presume that the remarks of PP executives to this purported buyers would be truthful ? Of course they were saying they were not profiting from them.
        Would you tell people you were trying to sell fetal tissues to that it was highly profitable ?

        Why do you presume that it is the obligation of someone editing a video to make editorial choices in a specific way ?

        If greenpeace did a video on the slaughter of baby seals, would it be obligated not to edit out some executives remark that they did not “profit” from the slaughter.

        Regardless, the assertion as described before is nonsense.
        Humans do not act in ways they do not atleast beleive will be net beneficial.
        We may be wrong about that – businesses sometimes lose money. But they do not usually try to. There is absolutely no reason for PP to have gone to the trouble to deal with fetal tissue buyers if the net compared to dumping the tissues in the trash was zero.

        One of the problems with many of your assertions is that you seem to think that the mutterings of some group change facts and logic. There is a reason that appeals to authority are fallacious. That is one of those reasons.
        Facts and logic are not trumped by the pseudo erudite monologues of purported experts.

      • November 16, 2015 3:39 pm

        “If greenpeace did a video on the slaughter of baby seals, would it be obligated not to edit out some executives remark that they did not “profit” from the slaughter. :

        If Greenpeace did a video on divers harvesting newly dead baby seals from the trapping nets for medical researchers who were trying to find cures for cancer, blindness, diabetes, birth defects, HIV, multiple sclerosis, ALS, and Alzheimer’s — the only reason they would edit out remarks that the divers were not doing it for personal profit is that they didn’t give a rat’s ass about the benefits to society of using dead baby seal tissue for medical purposes and wanted to paint them in the most negative terms possible.

        If the Anti-Abortionists don’t want fetal tissue to be used in medical experiments let them picket the hospitals and medical labs world wide who are creating the demand for it. And in symbolic protest, they should refuse to allow their children and grandchildren from receiving the smallpox vaccine, as it was developed from fetal tissue experimentation.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 16, 2015 7:40 pm

        You dance arround the truth and still do not see.

        Absolutely, the PP videos are intended to cast PP in the worst light possible. We should factor that in. But it still is PP’s own words and actions that we are hearing and judging.

        The benefits of the use of fetal tissue are a valid rebutal.
        But PP has not chosen to make that rebutal – probably because many of us grasp that ends-justify the means arguments can be used for anything.
        Again the Nazi’s found ways to create a “societal benefit” from the extermination of jews.
        Even today much of what we know about such things as hypothermia come from Nazi medical experiments.

        I would argue that whether we are talking Nazi’s or seal fishermen or PP that we want to see the greatest benefit possible from what has already happened.

        But the morality of clubbing baby seals, exterminating jews and abortion at different states does not and can not depend on what is done with the products of those actions.

        If you and PP are going to argue that the ends justifies the means – do so freely and openly.

        As to protesting hospitals etc. We each have to decide of all of what is done that offends our personal morals, what is sufficiently egregious to act against.
        That should be an individual choice – not one our government makes for us.

        I do not share the offense of an enormous number of people at what PP is doing with fetal tissue. But I do share their outrage that government is compelling all of us to provide support to an organization that deeply offends the values of some of us.

        Would it be acceptable to you for government to fund NRLC ?

  37. Roby permalink
    November 9, 2015 5:18 pm

    “As to insults and name calling on political blogs, mud slinging and trash talking is as American as Apple Pie.”

    Oh, certainly, and it used to get you a duel to boot. Some sociology Ph.D student somewhere must have written a thesis that attempted to grade the eras of political trash talk to find the lowest points, maybe today isn’t actually it.

    All my life it has seemed like the present era was the worst. Objectively I know that the era of my youth, the 50s, 60s, and 70s it was not actually the high point of civilized behavior but all the same, things Seem worse now. As you said Jay, you believe that the right and left ideologues are screwing the country up, they seem to me to have a larger podium and audience and its more than a bit frightening to me to see that their stuff attracts followers and spawns movements that are not without power. Are they worse than say, the know nothings? Well we know that know nothings faded away as an organized movement, though they left their ideas to their intellectual descendants. I’d love to get a letter from the future telling me that things did not really go completely to hell 100 or even 50 years in the future; right now I am inclined to believe that a letter from the future would describe a nasty decline that we are sitting on the edge of. Perhaps that is just human nature to worry, don’t know…

    • November 9, 2015 7:27 pm

      Roby, could the difference today be that politicians and those with a voice in earlier times were the only ones calling each other names when they did not agree on issues, where today one can get on Facebook and Twitter and call out anyone and everyone that does not hold their political viewpoint? Politicians have and always will be crooks and in someones pocket, so one crook calling another crook names is not like you and I getting into the dirt and calling each other names when we may disagree on issues. I think that may be why it appear civility is rapidly declining today.

      • Roby permalink
        November 10, 2015 4:59 pm

        Ron, Internet political commentary is an inherent invitation to use vitriol, its a new force that is very definitely part of the civility problem. As well, it is not limited to politics and religion, its any subject where people can disagree, it could be anything. The internet will hook you up with someone to loath in a matter of minutes and you can quickly be exchanging vitriol and insults with your new found hate interest in nearly real time. The chance to find a specific human example of the holder of some point of view that one believes is evil incarnate and then having at them anonymously with almost no limitation is addictive as hell to many people. It certainly spreads from the internet to real life, I have no doubt it has coarsened us.

        As to your theory of the past in which it was mostly just politicians, well, I think there is something to it, most people were too busy to make political beliefs the center of their life. But the number of duels etc that were fought, the political cartoons, the commentary I read by Twain in his autobiography make me believe that there were common people behaving with political venom, it was just a different technology. Thanks to the internet is become a simple escape from life.

        On the other hand, I think that the internet concentrates dysfunctional people, nuts, bomb throwers, and angry losers and gives a worse impression of our condition than is real. The people I meet in my daily life behave far better on average than people on the internet.

      • November 10, 2015 5:13 pm

        I have to agree with your last statement. What I think is many of those that post comments on the internet are not qualified to comment on the subject they address and the ones who do not comment are the ones qualified and smart enough to know they need only to speak to those where their comments will be taken seriously.

      • November 10, 2015 11:16 pm

        “The people I meet in my daily life behave far better on average than people on the internet”

        Those may be the very ones who turn into Mr. or Mrs. Hyde when they become anonymous on the net.

    • November 9, 2015 7:37 pm

      “a nasty decline…”

      “I agree. It’s like the Bob Dylan lyrics:

      Something is happening here
      But you don’t know what it is
      Do you Mr Jones?

      Something profound is going on, changing the character of our life, but I’m not sure what’s causing it.

      Similar changes seem to be happening as well in the other Industrial Democracies. Some basic shift in the way people interact, in their belief systems and interactions, is altering long accepted societal behaviors, personal and governmental.

      Maybe it’s a mix of things: technology and profuse media immersion, and longer life spans, and the deterioration of extended families, and the dismemberment of masculine prerogative, and the exponential growth of populations.

      I don’t know. If anyone has it figured out, let me know.

  38. jbastiat permalink
    November 9, 2015 7:26 pm

    You must have a lot of time on your hands. Perhaps, you should get a hobby?

    • November 9, 2015 8:33 pm

      Voodo is a satisfying hobby.
      We’re in the charm and hex phase.
      People who claim to know you say you’re bald as a cue ball.
      If that’s not true would you be willing to donate a lock of hair for a clay doll the class is sculpting?

      • jbastiat permalink
        November 9, 2015 9:28 pm

        Please get back on your meds, or if you prefer, start drinking again.

  39. Roby permalink
    November 10, 2015 11:18 am

    I can’t agree with Jay on Ray Rice, at all, there is no excuse for a large male athlete punching out a woman, a terrible model and a crime.

    Other than that I am really enjoying having another moderate here, shifts the ideological balance in my idea of a healthy direction and Jay posts substance and has wit. A win as far as I am concerned for the site, I hope he will stick.

    As to his struggles with JB, well, for non-conservative posters JB aims to be an itch that needs to be scratched, there will be a few over the top comments from each side I guess.

  40. Roby permalink
    November 10, 2015 11:47 pm

    “You are one sick son of a bitch.”

    Exactly what I was thinking when you proposed that snipers be posted on the Mexican border and that they shoot men, women, and children trying to get in to the US. I also thought it when you wished that we could get rid of all our muslim citizens.

    So, while you cannot stand the thought that an as-yet unconscious mass of cells be harmed, that concern is lost if the mass of cells matures, is born and becomes a hispanic child trying to get into America, where you had the pure good fortune to be born.

    • jbastiat permalink
      November 10, 2015 11:52 pm

      The term fuck you comes to mind. Then again, I am thinking your offer to throw hands is a good thing. You are 70 and I am not.

      Perhaps you will get your wish, gramps.

      • Roby permalink
        November 11, 2015 12:00 am

        ???

      • November 11, 2015 11:05 am

        Were you an abused child?

      • Roby permalink
        November 11, 2015 12:03 pm

        Just to lighten things up, here is some anger management:

    • November 11, 2015 11:02 am

      “Exactly what I was thinking when you proposed that snipers be posted on the Mexican border and that they shoot men, women, and children trying to get in to the US”

      Did he really write that?

      • Roby permalink
        November 11, 2015 11:59 am

        Yes. You’d have to do a search through the past but note that he is not arguing. In fact when I mentioned it above he replied that he would “do anything” to keep them out.

        Now why he is proposing to give me, a mere youngster of near 60, the knuckle sandwich he promised to you is proof that he is as confused as he is extreme.

        Ah, hate the sin but not the sinner, poor guy needs anger management.

  41. Roby permalink
    November 11, 2015 12:49 pm

    “So given that information that life does begin outside the womb at 22 weeks proven, what is to say one at 20 weeks or 21 weeks could not survive given our technology today. So I am back to my question as to when the government should be involved in controlling abortions and when they should be allowed. I know now that 22 weeks is not just a blob of cells.”

    Yes I quite agree. A moderate position would allow abortions up to say 16 weeks more than enough time for a woman to make her choice but not pressing the limits of a baby that could survive outside the womb. The 6 month limit in my opinion was a huge mistake other than the case of saving the mother’s life or a catastrophic condition of the embryo.

    • Ron P permalink
      November 11, 2015 2:14 pm

      Since I am a male, I don’t understand all the issues with the female reproductive system and don’t need to since there are others that have much more knowledge than I do. But I do know that women have a period each month (for the greatest majority anyway) and when that does not happen, there are two things causing that. Pregnancy or another medical condition. There are readily available test kits to determine pregnancy. So my question is, why do women not know they are pregnant until 4-5 months after the fact and if they know in 2, why do they wait until 4 months for an abortion? Even 16 weeks seems too long to me, but like I said, I don’t know everything I need to know and I am male, so unless it is someone in my family that is pregnant, I find it is best to keep my thoughts to myself unless the child can live outside the womb.

      • November 11, 2015 2:26 pm

        I agree with you, Ron, and since I am a woman, I don’t need to make any disclaimers.
        I do have a true story about this – I once helped deliver a baby (and by help, I mean I stood by and wrung my hands, while an occupational health nurse actually got the baby out) whose mother had no idea she was pregnant. She was a recent widow of about 6 months, extremely obese, and about 48 years old. The strange “sensations” she had been experiencing in her abdomen she had chalked up to digestive issues related to stress. So there you have it.

        How freak situations like this might lead to 2 million abortions performed per year? Obviously, there are other factors at play here.

      • November 11, 2015 2:40 pm

        That one I can understand. 48 years old, most have been through or have been going through menopause for sometime, missed periods and overweight (just gaining weight). But that does not account for the vast majority of these procedures

        The data that Jay provided was most helpful. Maybe if people knew the actual data before they began debating an issue, then a more fruitful outcome may occur.

        We will always have the conservative Christian right that will debate abortion at any time is wrong. Even the Catholics do not believe in contraception due to their belief in life. They will always debate the issue from their Christian point of view regardless. Then we will have the “haters” that can’t argue a position from facts, so they will resort to name calling, etc. They will never win a debate regardless of their position. But if more people had actual facts, then it would be much easier for everyone to understand the others position.

        Right now its all politics. And politicians do not want people to use facts. They want the issues emotional as that makes for better followers.

  42. November 11, 2015 1:35 pm

    RE Pricilla above:
    ” if you’ve got 5 hours of film, and you’ve got to get it down to 10 minutes, some “heavy editing”, as PP has alleged, is going to take place. But, unless those edits change the actual content of what is being said, then I would not call it “dishonest” editing.”

    it was more then shortening the footage: they chopped out parts of the secretly recorded conversation that were contrary to the narrative Planned Parenthood was using aborted fetal tissue as a profit motive. This was all documented early on, but overall the news media ignored it. Here’s one of the reports from FactCheck – an independent organization that objectively investigates claims from all sides of the political spectrum (they equally knock Democrats and Republicans, etc.).

    Here’s some of it:

    http://www.factcheck.org/2015/07/unspinning-the-planned-parenthood-video/

    Profit From Fetal Tissus: “Four experts in the field of human tissue procurement told us the price range discussed in the video — $30 to $100 per patient — represents a reasonable fee. “There’s no way there’s a profit at that price,” said Sherilyn J. Sawyer, the director of Harvard University and Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s “biorepository.”

    She continued in an email:
    Sawyer, July 20: In reality, $30-100 probably constitutes a loss for [Planned Parenthood]. The costs associated with collection, processing, storage, and inventory and records management for specimens are very high. Most hospitals will provide tissue blocks from surgical procedures (ones no longer needed for clinical purposes, and without identity) for research, and cost recover for their time and effort in the range of $100-500 per case/block. In the realm of tissues for research $30-100 is completely reasonable and normal fee.

    Jim Vaught, president of the International Society for Biological and Environmental Repositories and formerly the deputy director of the National Cancer Institute’s Office of Biorepositories and Biospecimen Research, told us in an email that “$30 to $100 per sample is a reasonable charge for clinical operations to recover their costs for providing tissue.” In fact, he said, the costs to a clinic are often much higher, but most operations that provide this kind of tissue have “no intention of fully recovering [their] costs, much less making a profit.”

    UnEdited Video: “At one point in the unedited video (which was also released by the group), Nucatola says: “Affiliates are not looking to make money by doing this. They’re looking to serve their patients and just make it not impact their bottom line.”
    Nucatola also says, “No one’s going to see this as a money making thing.” And at another point, she says, “Our goal, like I said, is to give patients the option without impacting our bottom line. The messaging is this should not be seen as a new revenue stream, because that’s not what it is.”

    Etc. Etc.

    Further news stories reported that only 4 or 5 PP’s clinics in only 2 states were providing fetal tissue for medical research

    • November 11, 2015 2:12 pm

      If so, then I would agree with you about the dishonest editing in regard to revenues obtained through organ sales (ugh), but it still doesn’t take away from the fact that PP was- and probably still is – performing illegal late term abortions and “donating” organs that were not theirs to donate.

      There seems to be a real consensus here (and I recognize that it’s not all of us) regarding the window of time during which it should be legal to perform abortions, and, also, that there are limited exceptions to that window, which may occasionally apply. The problem, as I see it, is that pro-abortion extremism is now the de facto position of many Democrats. And, yes, I know that there are anti-abortion extremists – those wack-jobs who want to shoot doctors who perform abortions etc. I tend to think that they are few and far between, compared to those on the pro-abortion side who are just fine with allowing infant abortion survivors to be left to die, but either way, we’re arguing about extremes.

      So, my refrain remains the same in regard to the the poisonous role of politics. If most people are in general agreement that there should be restrictions, why has the debate been dishonestly manipulated and polarized as one between wingnut misogynists vs. baby killing ghouls?

      • Roby permalink
        November 11, 2015 2:30 pm

        Priscilla, I don’t know how many of the GOP presidential candidates believe that abortions should be illegal, but the one that I identify as the most moderate has the position that:

        “Rubio identifies as pro-life, and opposes abortion, including in cases of rape and incest.[155] Rubio has said: “I believe all human life, irrespective of the circumstance in which it came into being, is worthy of protection.”[155] Rubio strongly opposes the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark abortion rights decision in Roe v. Wade (1973), calling it a “historically, egregiously flawed decision”[156] and “one of America’s most blatant instances of judicial activism.”[157]”

        And he is the moderate. I looked up Cruz’s position:

        “Cruz is “strongly anti-abortion” and “would allow the procedure only when a pregnancy endangers the mother’s life.””

        Those both from wiki.

        Well, how about the GOP as a party? Moderate? fFnding a middle ground?

        “Even as the Republican establishment continued to call for Representative Todd Akin of Missouri to drop out of his Senate race because of his comments on rape and abortion, Republicans approved platform language on Tuesday calling for a constitutional amendment outlawing abortion with no explicit exceptions for cases of rape or incest.”

        http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/08/21/g-o-p-approves-strict-anti-abortion-language-in-party-platform/?_r=0

        The 2012 GOP platform. Any guess about 2016?

        I don’t think that its just democrats who have a very one-sided and un-nuanced opinion. Priscilla, its always the democrats to you that are the problem, you have a real blind spot for republican follies.

      • November 11, 2015 2:50 pm

        Roby, I know this was in response to Priscilla, but I just want to respond.

        I think if we had the current political climate back int he early 1900’s we would still be arguing over women’s suffrage and prohibition (end of).

        While we have a government that could care less about the future generations of this country by running up trillions in debt, running the country in deficit spending and leaving our country to where a massive economic collapse will happen in the future that will leave millions destitute and living in poverty, they are arguing over issues that are settled law and only impact a fraction of (potential) life.

        I vote for the two parties getting their #$%^ together and fixing the problems that will impact negatively on current life before they worry anymore about potential life. As a grandfather, I find I am more worried about my living 4 grandkids than one my daughters might terminate.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 14, 2015 4:35 pm

        The women’s sufferage movement started in the early 19th century. It took nearly a century to accomplish. Politics is little different today than ever. Read the campaign rhetoric involving Adam’s and Jefferson.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 14, 2015 3:56 pm

        Represent complex issues as black and white and we get your nonsense.
        Do Cruz and Rubio oppose Birth Control ?
        Morning after pills ?

        With few exceptions views on abortion are not binary.

        I do not grasp why there needs to be an exception for rape or incest – given the existance of morning after pills and other means of addressing the issue before and shortly after intercourse.

        I like the approach I have offered that came from Lawrence Tribe and Walter Block. The question of whether a fetus is human is irrelevant. It is consistent with western law and traditions in other areas. A woman has an absolute right to end the use of a “fetus” of her body. But not to ensure the death of the fetus.

        And that brings into focus the REAL question. When can we kill the results of conception ?

        Most of us accept that born babies can not be killed – even though they are far from “fully human”. Only a small portion of us have problems with preventing the implantation of a fertilized egg.

        The advance of technology has empowered abortion opponents, by clearly shifting viability closer and closer to conception.

        If that is something we value, eventually we can shift it all the way to conception.

        One of the problems with Rowe is that it confused the state of the art of medicine of its time for a legal, moral and ethical answer.

        We do not all share the same answer to the question when can we kill the results of conception and when can’t we.

        In arguably Rubio and Cruz have picked a moment far earlier than you.

        Further the left is having innumerable problems with the issue.

        More and more it is clear that ever younger fetus’s can survive.
        More and more it is clear that most late abortions are the consequence of poor choices, not rape, incest, downs, or the myriads of other allowances the left demands.
        More and more their are early effective options.

      • November 11, 2015 3:40 pm

        Roby, I have to say that you are selectively critical of my comments in the same way that you accuse me of being selective in my observations.

        Pretty much every mainstream Republican presidential candidate has held that he or she is anti-abortion ( or “pro-life” as it were, the same way that pro-abortion advocates prefer “pro-choice”) Even most Democratic candidates have, until recently anyway, contended that they wanted to make abortion “safe, legal, and rare.” Who the hell thinks that 2 million abortions a year is a good thing?

        There are many Republicans who believe that abortion law is the constitutional province of the states and oppose Roe v Wade in theory, because it was a case of judicial legislating (read Rubio’s statement). But almost all accept the principal of stare decisis at this point, and I am sure that even you might agree that no serious GOP candidate in decades has ever suggested outlawing abortion entirely. ( Eh, I’m not sure about Sarah Palin). But that doesn’t mean that they can’t personally be opposed to it.

        In any case, I tried to make the point that you and I (and millions of other people) basically agree on abortion, but we still go after each other, as if we disagree, because we have different politics. I suppose you proved my point – or else I just made it badly.

        And, for what it’s worth, I disagree with you about my blind spot for Republicans, but it’s an argument not worth having, in my humble partisan opinion 😉

      • November 11, 2015 10:02 pm

        “Who the hell thinks that 2 million abortions a year is a good thing?”

        Good is not the appropriate word, Priscilla. ‘ Necessary’ is closer to it. Like the millions of dental tooth extractions each year – people don’t say “Oh good, I getting my tooth yanked.” They say it’s a good thing a dentist is available when you need a tooth extracted. That’s because dentists are easy to find. But now, because of the unremitting efforts of anti-abortionists to foist their religious convictions on those who don’t ascribe to them, it’s getting harder and harder to find clinics who will do the procedure. That has been the main strategy of ‘Pro Lifers’ who are really Anti Abortion fanatics, as single minded in their objectives as were the Prohibitionists who wanted to STOP the sale of alcohol everywhere in the U.S.

        Abortion is necessary social triage. We do t need to increase the population of unwanted children in the world, we don’t need to swell the welfare and public assistance roles with unwed mothers and dependent babies who will grow up fatherless and welfare dependent. We don’t need to further stress families who already have children they can’t provide for, emotionally or financially.

    • dhlii permalink
      November 14, 2015 7:17 pm

      PP is a “non-profit” the term “profit” has no meaning at all in the context of PP.

      However their financial benfits from fetal tissue are much the same as Tyson’s figuring out how to make ever part of the chicken’s it processes into a product.

      Abortions will result in “fetal tissue” that will either be waste – generating a cost for PP, or it will be directed towards some valuable use.

      Regardless, of what one feels about abortion, it is preferable to convert its waste into products.

      But for some in the context of abortion this feels too much like the Nazi’s making use of everything that resulted from the extermination of Jews in some fashion.

      But back to “profit”, PP turns the cost of handling a waste into a resource with a value.
      That value increases PP’s bottom line. In a normal business – that is called PROFIT.
      In the context of a non-profit, it pays for other costs, reduces the price or increases the volume of services, increases the saleries of executives, or is carried forward to defray future costs.

      All the same things that a for-profit business would do save one. It can not turn into a dividend paid to owners or shareholders.

      The entire discussion of whether PP “profits” from fetal tissue is nonsensical.
      What is absolutely inarguable is that changing fetal tissue from a waste to a product benfits them – and is precisely the same process that for profit companies use to improve their bottom line.

      Regardless, I have little problem with what PP is doing.
      But government should not be paying for it.

      • November 14, 2015 11:51 pm

        “But back to “profit”, PP turns the cost of handling a waste into a resource with a value.
        That value increases PP’s bottom line. In a normal business – that is called PROFIT.”

        Nonsense. The ‘value’ of fetal tissue doesn’t effect the bottom line at all, because any money received for the tissue is zeroed out by the cost of providing it. Numerous experts interviewed by non partisan organization like FactCheck reported that they probably were losing money. If it costs more to provide the fetal tissue then is received back in payment, that’s call LOSS you dumbbell. And the cost of post abortion fetal disposal is already calculated into the procedure, so the bottom line wouldn’t budge at all, even if there was a small profit per fetal tissue transaction, because so few PP clinics were doing them.

        PP never intended to provide fetal tissue for profit; they provided it for the same reason hospitals provide body parts of newly deceased patients – for altruistic medical purposes.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 15, 2015 6:16 pm

        If you think FactCheck is unbiased, that would demonstrate your problem.

        We have myriads of organizations left and right with names deliberately designed to make them sound objective. Atleast some of us grasp that there is often a disconnect between the names and the behavior of the organization.

      • November 15, 2015 9:23 pm

        “If you think FactCheck is unbiased, that would demonstrate your problem.”

        Unless you’re really even more a dumdum then I already judge you to be, you know EVERYBODY is biased to some degree. FactCheck is therefore equally biased against both sides in disputed issues when examining factual deviation in their statements.

        Have you followed them for any length of time? If so, even a rigid bar-up-the-anus guy like you knows they examine the controversial public assertions of Democrats and Republicans with equal dispassion. And if you have followed them and came to a different conclusion, you have a disfunction of mental perception: the technical term woul be ‘a screw loose in your cerebellum.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 16, 2015 3:46 pm

        That everyone is biased does not mean everyone is EQUALLY biased.
        Nor that FactCheck’s Bias’s are balanced.

        Yes, I have followed FactCheck for a long time. FactCheck is a part of the Annenberg Public Policy Center. While Walter Annenberg was fairly right leaning, the foundations and institutions setup by him were gradually co-opted by the left after his death.
        This is fairly common. Many foundations were setup by wealthy right leaning people. Most foundations slowly drift left after their founders death. Even US charities are most run by people who lean left, but funded primarily by the right.

        Regardless, when a purported fact check organization spouts total nonsense, biased or not they are not credible. I have already demonstrated the fallacy of the claims relative to PP and the funds they received for fetal tissues. I can not stop FactCheck.org from bloviating nonsense, nor can I prevent you from buying nonsense, but neither alters that it is fairly obvious nonsense.

        Once again the mere presence of two points of view does not make both equal, rational or logical.

        You confuse label’s with reality

        As to myself – I hold both Republicans and Democrats to high standards. Republicans do not meet those standards, Democrats do not try.

        As to my purported rigidity – I would have thought that even so called moderates would not buy magic bean theories.

        If it is rigid to insist that the ends do not justify the means, or that you can not spend yourself to prosperity – then I plead guilty.

        I also beleive that you can not kill people who do not use actual force against you.
        Are there two equal sides to that ? Must we give equal time to Nazi’s ?

        If you are incapable of grasping that the existince of a different point of view does not confer on it legitimacy or equality to all other points of view, then the rigid ideology incapable of seeing the world as it is would be you.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 15, 2015 6:17 pm

        You do know that an appeal to authority is a fallacy ?

      • dhlii permalink
        November 15, 2015 6:33 pm

        If providing Fetal Tissue did not benefit PP they would not do it.
        Any analysis that claims otherways is an obvious fraud.

        You argument would require that the cost of disposing of Fetal tissue would be as large or larger than monies received from selling it. Do you really belive that ?

        I beleive I noted earlier that 98% of the chicken that enters a Tyson factory turns into a product some how. Are you claiming that Tyson finds some use for every part for mere whimsy ? That converting waste that has disposal costs, into a raw material for another process create no net gain in value ?

        So let me make this clear. The overwhelming majority of human choices are made because those making them based on the values they hold beleive they will be better off
        Better off = Profit.

        PP sells fetal tissue because that choice is better for them that not doing so – though I am gathering that the recent publicity has resulted in a reversal of that position – their opponets have made it such that the calculus of the decision has reversed.

        I have zero problems with PP “profiting” from the sale of fetal tissues.
        I have major problems with government paying for PP, or Solyndra, or Sugar subsides, or …

        Though it is far worse for government to take our money and use it to support institutions that many consider immoral.

        Can we direct funds from the public coffers to the KKK ?

        The left is constantly under the delusion that if they can manage the political muscle to push through some program they love that others find morally offensive – that is somehow acceptable, because they take no moral offense. Yet when things are opposite they are enraged.

        We call that hypocracy.

      • November 15, 2015 11:47 pm

        “If providing Fetal Tissue did not benefit PP they would not do it.
        Any analysis that claims otherways is an obvious fraud.”

        Prove that assertion. That’s just your own cynical misinformed blather. The benefit PP gets from providing fetal tissue is the same benefit non-profit hospitals get from providing body parts from dead patients to live patients who will benefit from the transfer – medical altruism.

        “You argument would require that the cost of disposing of Fetal tissue would be as large or larger than monies received from selling it. Do you really belive that ?”

        How did you come up with that absurd assertion?
        Are you business retarded?
        You have it reversed, dummie.
        Preparing fetal tissue for transfer requires more time, resources, surgical equipment, ultra sanitized and temperature controlled clinic space, trained technicians, insulated packaging. Also extra paperwork and time with the donating patients and extra tracking paperwork, ETC! Plus they still have the cost of disposing of the remaining fetus.

        Do you not understand those are costs above and beyond disposing of an intact fetus? PP is lucky if they’re breaking even. So show me the benefits you’re insinuating they’re receiving for the fetal tissue exchanges. WELL WHAT ARE THEY??? I’m waiting….

      • dhlii permalink
        November 16, 2015 4:08 pm

        Prove that 1+1=2.

        I would suggest you look into thing like postulates, axioms, and principles.

        Regardless, though I think it is quite clear from the video’s that PP was out to maximize cash, not altrusim, that does not matter. Nor is the transplantation of body parts from dead people altruism merely be cause you assert it, nor is altrusim – presuming it actually was a driver, not a self-interested benefit.

        You are correct that providing Fetal tissues for sale creates an increase in cost – though you greatly exagerate the increase.

        Producing steel from coal and iron ore greatly increases costs – yet we do it because the benefits outweight the costs.

        PP is not “lucky to break even” and no one with either a tiny bit of sense, or who actually watched the videos would claim otherwise.

        Does it not bother you that PP has not even made consistent assertions on this ?
        They have been all over the place from this is a money losing proposition, to we use the additional revenues to reduce the cost of other services, to we are a non-profit and therefore can not technically have a profit.

        Even allowing your nutcase claim for all these extra costs.
        1). Would an honest Keynesian still claim an overall net benefit because the sale of fetal tissue is “stimulative” ? All those “costs” you cite provide jobs and benefits to others – usually PP staff. If the net result of selling fetal tissue is more and higher paid staff – for a non-profit, that is profit.

        2). Alternatively lets presume this is a net negative choice – then either PP is wasting government money, or it is increasing the cost of abortions or other services provided by PP.
        Following your wacko “altruism” logic – do you think it is moral for PP to drive up the price of abortions for its mostly low income clients to provide some “altruistic” benefit to the people buying fetal tissues from PP ?

        One of the problems with the left is that you fail to understand money.
        Money is not wealth. It is not value. It is a means by which we measure, store and transfer value.

        You equate money with evil and greed – that is like calling a ruler vile because sometimes it measures a mine field. Humans use money to MEASURE value. When you choose to go to the movies you are ranking the value of that entertainment experience relative to the myriads of other things you also value, from cars, to sex or love 0 or even altruism.

      • November 16, 2015 7:31 pm

        dhlii says: “I think it is quite clear from the video’s that PP was out to maximize cash, not altruism…”

        I can slough off your unending judgmental pomposities, but you cross the line when you make egregious misstatements of fact.

        It’s quite clear from your borderline lie above that you never saw the unedited transcript or longer video where the PP executive says the following:

        “Affiliates are not looking to make money by doing this. They’re looking to serve their patients and just make it not impact their bottom line.”

        She also says, “No one’s going to see this as a money making thing.”
        And at another point, she says, “Our goal, like I said, is to give patients the option without impacting our bottom line… this should not be seen as a new revenue stream, because that’s not what it is.”

        And she tells the “buyers” (the actors purporting to represent a fetal tissue procurement company) that affiliates wouldn’t make decisions about whether to work with a tissue research organization based on money. “You could call them up and say, ‘I’ll pay you double the money,’ and they’re almost more inclined to say no, because it’s going to look bad. … To them, this is not a service they should be making money from, it’s something they should be able to offer this to their patients, in a way that doesn’t impact them.”

        Did you see those unedited quotes or not? What quotes from the videos or transcripts do you have to prove otherwise? Show some intellectual integrity and provide them in the full unedited context they were spoken.

        If you don’t provide links, I’m going to put the Curse of Christopher Hitchens on you:

        “May You Spend Eternity In A Small Sealed Room Filled With Politically Correct Liberals.”

        And here’s another of your assertions made from ignorance:

        “PP is not “lucky to break even” and no one with either a tiny bit of sense, or who actually watched the videos would claim otherwise.”

        Baloney. Here what experts with knowledge of the costs of providing medical fetal tissue have to say:

        “Jim Vaught, president of the International Society for Biological and Environmental Repositories and formerly the deputy director of the National Cancer Institute’s Office of Biorepositories and Biospecimen Research, told us in an email that “$30 to $100 per sample is a reasonable charge for clinical operations to recover their costs for providing tissue.” In fact, he said, the costs to a clinic are often much higher, but most operations that provide this kind of tissue have “no intention of fully recovering [their] costs, much less making a profit.”

        Carolyn Compton, the chief medical and science officer of Arizona State University’s National Biomarkers Development Alliance and a former director of biorepositories and biospecimen research at the National Cancer Institute, agreed that this was “a modest price tag for cost recovery.” Compton told us in an email: ” ‘Profit’ is out of the question, in my mind. I would say that whoever opined about ‘profit’ knows very little about the effort and expense involved in providing human biospecimens for research purposes.”

        According to another tissue procurement company called Advanced Bioscience Resources, which has provided fetal tissues to researchers in a number of federally funded studies, the costs mentioned in the video are reasonable. Linda Tracy, ABR’s president, told us in an email that “[i]t is difficult to pinpoint the exact cost of tissue acquisition due to the many variables involved,” such as the location of the facility, the specific requests from researchers and any special handling that is required. She said, however, that “$30 to $100 is within a comparable range of what ABR pays for reimbursement of costs.”
        http://www.factcheck.org/2015/07/unspinning-the-planned-parenthood-video/
        Go read the article, you dissembling phony.

        And by the way, Dubious Dave, unless you’re living on the back side of the moon and have your head up your rectum as well, you’d know that PP has made numerous consistent assertions that they don’t profit from fetal tissue transactions. And PP isn’t wasting any government money for anything to do with abortions – their government funding excludes using any of it for abortion-related services.

        And where did you come to the dopy conclusion I equate money with evil and greed?
        Again, your ideological robot-brain appears to have short-circuited to another wrong conclusion.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 17, 2015 10:35 am

        The recordings and facts speak for themselves.

        The quotes you provide do not make your argument. For the most part they are merely spin.
        Further it is quite clear from the video’s that PP was actively seeking to increase the “new revenue stream” that came from selling fetal tissues. Numerous comments refer to changing aspects of the abortion process to maximize the value of the tissues that could be collected.

        If two purchasors of fetal tissue otherwise equal came to PP and one would pay $100 for some part, and another would pay $300 the part would go to the party paying the higher price. Just as if two vendors were selling otherwise equal condoms and ones price was tripple the others PP would pick the lower price.

        While the words in all of the video’s are often distrubing, the fundimental issues regard the facts.

        If someone says “the sun will not rise tomorow” that does not make it a fact.
        Conversely if someone says they are doing and have done something – that is likely to be true and probably independently verifiable. What they say about why they are doing something is spin.

        Regardless, you use incredible double standards.

        Hitler said what he was doing was for the benefit of the world. Must we accept that as the truth because he said it ?

      • dhlii permalink
        November 17, 2015 10:42 am

        “And where did you come to the dopy conclusion I equate money with evil and greed?”

        From your own remarks.

        You hold an incredibly inconsistent and self contradictory world view.

        I have zero problem with what PP’s new “revenue stream” from fetal tissue.
        What I have a problem with is government subsidizing something that many find immoral.

        You make a huge deal that PP is not “profiting” from this. While it is inarguable that fetal tissue sales was a “new revenue stream” and that it was beneficial to PP.
        Why does it matter whether PP was profiting ?

        I have a problem that they and you are so insistent on lying about it.
        I have no problem with what they were doing.
        They were doing what every business strives for – providing more value to their clients in order to increase the value to shareholders.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 17, 2015 10:48 am

        So if PP provided two functions:

        providing homeless shelters, and exterminating jews.

        It would be OK with you for govenrment to fund them so long as you could decide yourself into beleiving that no governemnt funds were used for genocide ?

        You do understand that a dollar has no idea how it is spent ?
        That when PP receives money from Government that it goes into the same bank accounts as any other money PP receives – including that from the sale of fetal tissues. and those same bank accounts pay for all of PP’s costs.

        Regardless, you can not partition another persons moral values out of existance.

        If PP is engaged in conduct that a significant minority of people beleive violates their morals, they can not be paid for by government – regardless of what other potentially laudatory things they might do.

        You do not get to decide how other people apply their moral values.

  43. Roby permalink
    November 11, 2015 2:47 pm

    “Right now its all politics. And politicians do not want people to use facts. They want the issues emotional as that makes for better followers.”

    Perfect. Your entire post was dead on.

  44. Roby permalink
    November 11, 2015 3:00 pm

    “I vote for the two parties getting their #$%^ together and fixing the problems that will impact negatively on current life before they worry anymore about potential life. As a grandfather, I find I am more worried about my living 4 grandkids than one my daughters might terminate.”

    You are beginning to awe me. Common sense and common decency in truck loads. My hat is off to you.

  45. Roby permalink
    November 11, 2015 4:34 pm

    Priscilla, I hope you don’t think I have any personal axe to grind with you (I really don’t) but you do post statements that are irresistible to me to respond to. Such as:

    “The problem, as I see it, is that pro-abortion extremism is now the de facto position of many Democrats.”

    No mention of the extremism of Republicans?!? Just a few cranks on the other side? Nonsense! I could not let that one go.

    “So, my refrain remains the same in regard to the the poisonous role of politics.”

    Which unfortunately I believe you were playing when you found that the “problem” is the extremism of many democrats.

    My attempt at an objective and non-partisan view sees lots of extremists on both sides, liberal/democrat and conservative/republican. The liberals will have no abridgments or exceptions to Roe, for fear perhaps (like the NRA) that the smallest concession will be the end, and the GOP has to placate its religious element that Ron described perfectly, no abortions at all. The position of the GOP is clearly pretty damn absolute and extreme.

    • November 11, 2015 6:18 pm

      No offense taken, Roby. I am definitely partisan in my politics, always have been, even back when I was a partisan Democrat. But, no doubt, there are too many absolutists on both sides, and both parties need to get their @#& together. They can stay partisan, but they need to drop the false narratives and get their priorities in order.

  46. Pat Riot permalink
    November 12, 2015 9:09 am

    Ug. Democrat and Republican, liberal and conservative. When will it end? It is different human beings focusing on different segments and aspects of life. Both “sides” are partly incorrect and partly correct, depending on the dimensions of the focus and the factors involved. When can we put the finer points of the philosophical, ideological differences aside and at least operate the country, steer it away from decline and bankruptcy? Priorities. Priorities.

    As for our differences, there are 50 states. There are cities, suburbs, and rural areas, mountains and valleys. If you love a bustling city, go live there. If you love quiet country, go live there. If only we’d stop trying to “design” a homogenized country according to ideologies. If only we could just agree on some basics within budget, and freedom to choose things that do not ruin other people’s lives, allowing individuals room to develop and grow within reasonable laws…(music swelling…)

    My 24-year-old son cannot see some of the things I see at 53 years old, he just can’t, and I cannot pretend to care about some of the things he cares about at his age, but if there is a fire in the house we won’t stand in each other’s way. We will get out to safer ground or put the fire out. The country is on fire. Or it has hit an ice berg. Pick your analogy. We can point fingers at each other, argue about our differences, or we can at least put the worst fires out and live. OK the analogy is getting weak. We don’t even agree about what’s a fire and what’s not a fire. We need a better understanding of the world, ourselves, and what really works and what doesn’t. And then there are short term consequences and long term consequences. Oh no, we are back to ideologies! Lord help us!

    • November 12, 2015 11:49 am

      Hey Pat! I like your fire analogy, and I’ll take it out a bit farther. You and your son disagree on certain topics – which is not a BAD thing, unless one of you decides that it would really be better for all concerned if he locked the door behind him after escaping from that fire. After all, leaving the other in to burn might rid everyone of having to argue over or discuss these messy disagreements……

      Partisanship is not a bad thing in and of itself, and I refuse to believe that we would be better off if everyone rooted for the same team…..or didn’t root at all, so as not to offend the fans of the other team. (Actually, I suppose in that scenario, there wouldn’t even BE fans of the other team, lol)

      Everyone cheered when famously conservative Liberty University invited Bernie Sanders to speak. He gave a good speech, was well-received (or, at least, politely received) and who knows? Maybe some of those conservative, white, Christian kids got a deeper understanding of why so many people like what the Bern has to say. I doubt that they became any less partisan, though…….

      • dhlii permalink
        November 14, 2015 5:53 pm

        Bernie Sanders can speak at Liberty University,
        But Alan Derschowitz is unacceptable to most Ivy’s – and god forbid Anne Coulter should be invited.

        Those at Liberty Uinversity need to hear Bernie Sanders, but even more those at Harvard, Yale, Berkley, Columbia, Princton, and Aparently Mizzou need to hear from Derschowitz or Coulter, or Paul, or even Limbaugh.

        The left wonders how Republicans have taken over congress when Democrats outnumber them. That would be because in much of the country those on the right outnumber those on the left by 20%, but in the democratic enclaves that are our dysfunctional cities, those on the left outnumber those on the right by 70%.

        In that part of the country controlled by the right, all voices are present. In those areas controlled by the left dissent is not tolerated.

        A few years ago I went to diner at an excellent New York City Restaurant. I was looking forward to a fine meal. But the women to my left was engaged in a loud political discussion spraying all of us with progressive nonsense. No one would have dared to disagree or even to ask her to be quiet. Likely most of the patrons agreed with her. There are no restaurants of the same quality where I live, but when I go to dinner there people do not project their politics into the space of other patrons, and if they were to it would be something to apologize for.

        I have grown up in an environment with large numbers of fundimentalist christians. I do not share their views, or values but with few exceptions they tolerate dissent. Further some of those whose values and beleifs offend me the most are actively engaged in helping their fellow man. Local right wing nut churches, take in the poor and homeless or run food banks or make meals, or take in immigrant families. Those on the left demand that government do these things and the rest of us pay for it. But they do nothing themselves.

        Generalizations always have exceptions, and I know large exceptions on both the right and left. But this is the norm as I have found it and there are many studies to back up my personal experiences. Charity – both in the form of time and money is significantly greater on the right than left.

    • dhlii permalink
      November 14, 2015 4:42 pm

      Why do we beelive that government is the answer to every question ?

      Does it matter if we disagree, if we are all free to do as we please with our own lives. \

      Your observation about a fire in the house is poigniant – but everything is not a fire in the house.

      The role of government is to secure our rights. It is not to do for us things we can do for ourselves.

      Government is force. It is there ONLY for those tasks that require force.

      Where force is not required government is not the means for us to accomplish our wants and needs.

  47. Pat Riot permalink
    November 12, 2015 12:25 pm

    Yes, Priscilla, I think we are on to something here that may shed needed light on what it means to be a “moderate,” or at least a reasonable person.

    So let’s look at that word “partisan”. I suppose a positive or favorable definition of “partisan” could revolve around being a good “team player” and “having a (somewhat clear) set of opinions/views” as opposed to someone who is wishy-washy and all over the place and downright uncommitted and/or confused. This type of partisan person could, however, be respectful of other’s opinions, open to hearing and evaluating different perspectives, and cognizant of various contexts and various applications of things–and all without giving up loyalty to ways we think are better than other ways, based on what we have witnessed time and time again and as we have cogitated over. (no time to edit that)

    The trouble begins when partisanship crosses over into disrespect and close-mindedness, whether it be in politics, or in personal relationships. I may be confident in my own opinions, but if I regularly hurl ridicule and venom at my spouse I won’t be married too long or it will be a horrible marriage, or friendship, or country.

    And so being a moderate has much to do with being reasonable, and with understanding how consequences change as the various factors are dialed up or dialed down, and not with being “in the middle” or “soft” or “uncommitted”. But unfortunately that soft-in-the-middle perception still lingers, though perhaps reasonable people are making headway on various fronts.

    • Ron P permalink
      November 12, 2015 12:58 pm

      Pat.. Love your “And so being a moderate has much to do with being reasonable”. So now I guess we can all get into a long conversation as to what is reasonable is here, as that is what we do isn’t it? Yes being reasonable has turned into “being soft in the middle”. And that is really a sorry state of affairs as our “Mr Conservative” that every died-in-the-wool Republican uses as their savior in politics, Ronald Reagan, was reasonable and knew he had to compromise on some issues to mostly get what he wanted. My god, he was even friendly with Tip. How could he meet with the enemy like that.

      I will also say you have made me question if I am a moderate, if I am reasonable in my positions or if I am just totally screwed up in my thinking. What is it when someone is extremely fiscally conservative, is open to discussion on climate change, is open to increased regulations on financial institutions and breaking up the too-large-to-fail banks and is liberal on social issues like gay marriage, abortion and other social issues.

      These positions were shaped by being raised by Democrat parents, got tired of the government taking so much of my money from my check I worked so had to earn and was stung by the downturn in the stock market in 2008. Paranoid maybe?

      • Pat Riot permalink
        November 12, 2015 1:35 pm

        Ron, maybe we need new labels, or no labels at all. Maybe you are a concerned citizen with x number of strengths and x number of weaknesses, and where can we fit in, and where can we work together on which problems, x 300 million people.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 14, 2015 6:00 pm

        Reason and reasonable are not the same thing.

        Further reasonable is something we do in our own private lives. Reason is what should describe our relation to government.

        We expect our neighbors to give us reasonable accomidations to our foibles and idiosyncracies, and we owe them the same.

        We expect government to provide absolute respect for our rights – not merely a reasonable accomidation of them.

        Government is not supposed to leave us “reasonably free”.

      • November 14, 2015 6:42 pm

        OK, so I am not someone with a 160 IQ and used terminology that only the average individual would understand where I am coming from in my comments. I stand corrected.

        As defined in the Google dictionary, reasonable is having sound judgment; fair and sensible. Synonyms are sensible, rational, logical, fair, fair-minded, just, equitable. There are more but I don’t have time to list more.

        So I guess you can say being reasonable in the way I used the term would be someone being sensible, logical and fair. Making decisions for the good of all while not achieving everything a small number of individuals may desire is being sensible in my way of thinking. Not being reasonable and never compromising is being closed minded, irrational and not using sound judgement since nothing changes when that path is taken.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 15, 2015 9:43 am

        Did you mean rational, or logical when you used “Reasonable” ?

        Logic often allows us to arrive at certain or near conclusions. Those you call “ideologues” beleive they are using reason and logic and they are inflexible because their use of reason and logic results in an answer that is clear to them.

        I am presuming that by “reasonable” you meant accomidating, or compromising.

        Resorting to a dictionary definition is fine – where your use of terms corresponds with the dictionary meaning.

        What did you mean when you said “reasonable” ?

        BTW anything that develoves to “fair”, “fair-minded” or “equitable” is problematic.

        There is no universal standard of fair or equity. Take any 10 people and you will have 13 conceptions of “fair”.

        Those revolutions that focused on liberty have generally thrived and improved the lot of people. Those that have fixated on egalitarianism have resulted in copious streams of blood.

        Liberty is the most powerful force for the improvement of humanity, Equality is the most powerful force for its destruction.

        we are equal only in our freedom, and life is not fair. But it can be quite good for nearly all of us, given we have sufficient freedom to acheive the most of what we want for ourselves as we can.

      • November 15, 2015 1:15 pm

        Snore.

      • November 15, 2015 3:51 pm

        WOW! were getting down to the nitty gritty with my use and definition of “reasonable”. So here are instances that I would apply to being reasonable. One is for kids and a few for adults.

        If a child has a baseball and wants to play with a large group of his friends and they want to play 5 innings and he wants to play 7 innings, then when one of the kids says “lets play 6 innings” the “reasonable” thing for the kid with the ball to do is to play 6 innings. If he decides to go home because they would not play 7 innings is not “reasonable” because no one gets to play. (compromise)

        As for adults, lets use climate change and global warming. There is an argument between liberals and conservatives if this is really happening. Even in the scientific field, there are opposing views, although more believe it is happening than the non believers. And then there are some who believe, but argue over the cause. Given this situation, we can look at scientific information showing CO2 emissions for the large nations. The USA contributes 27%, China and India 63%. (And it is reported that China has under reporting its numbers so this could be as high as 70% of the worlds contribution to CO2 emissions) Also during the period 2000 to 2013 the USA has reduced its output by 9%, while China and India have increased their output where they are now producing 2 1/2 the amount they did in 2000.

        Given these numbers is it reasonable for our politicians to require us to reduce our output by 10% or 20% while not requiring China and India to reduce their’s even more based on the amount we have decreased at the same time they increased. And is it reasonable to allow them to monitor their own output after China has already said they under reported the years 2000-2013.

        I would not say that is a reasonable expectation. So my definition of being reasonable in this instance is “common sense” for lack of a better description. If one can or can not prove a scientific theory, then be “reasonable” and accept that CO2 may cause global warming. And then be “reasonable” and apply reductions where they make the most sense. That is where the largest amount is being produced and the largest decrease would occur. And be “reasonable” that you can’t expect one country to do it all, it has to be a global initiative so the USA has to do some, but not all like it appears the liberals expect us to do.

        One more: Simpson Bowles was a “reasonable” approach to debt and deficit reduction. Everyone had skin in the game. Not doing anything like we have is “unreasonable” and lacks common sense. (Compromise)

        Ronald Reagan was a “reasonable guy” He would give up 25% to get 75%.

        Closing the government down when most of the money is still being spent, having school children turned away from national monuments and pasted on the news, paying government employees for the days they did not have to work after they return to work, turning away vacationers from national parks and then reopening the government with no reduction in spending or deficits is “unreasonable”. Passing a budget with deficit reduction along with debt limit increases is reasonable since it gets us on the right path. Best—passing a balanced budget amendment that takes effect after a few years is being reasonable.

        Subject closed from my end.. Explained everything I can. I expect that one could argue if these a really “reasonable”, “common sense” or some other terminology. But that my position and I am sticking to it. Guess you could say that’s an “unreasonble” position to take.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 15, 2015 7:38 pm

        Not splitting hairs at all.

        Presuming that reasonable has something to do with logic and reason, it is not determined by a bunch of examples. It is determined by logic and reason.

        Logic is related to mathematics. It is not determined by consensus.
        1+1 != 3 no matter how many people think it should.

        If one kid want to play baseball with a hardball and seven want to play it with a handgrenade, it is not “reasonable” to play it with a handgrenade.
        need I go on ?

        All choices can not be made solely based on logic and reason, but when one can, defying logic and reason are “unreasonable” no matter how great the consensus to do otherwise

        With respect to CAGW – no it is NOT reasonable for politicians to make any choices about CO2 emissions without a far higher degree of certainty of a serious problem than we have.

        And honestly anyone still selling CAGW needs to have their heads examined. We are more than 2.5 standards of deviation below the median model predictions (themselves not catastrophic) the statistical odds of the models being accurate are astronomically low.
        No amount of science or pseudo science trumps that.
        I would also check the more recent “remote sensing” data. Within the past decade we have the celestial measuring capability to address the earth as a black box. That means we can use fairly simple physics to determine whether the planet is heating or not – rather than the impossibly complex climate models. This is the reason that Climate scientist are rushing about trying to find the hidden heat. The energy budget for the earth is not balanced for CAGW absent a massive amount of hidden stored heat.
        Put more simply for myriads of reasons the models are just wrong.
        The climate sensitivity to CO2 is off – possibly by an order of magnitude. It is almost certainly no higher than 1.6C/doubling , and possibly as low as .25C/doubling. neither of which is a serious future problem.

        Finally, we have been subject to this kind of chicken little malthusian nonsense since, …. Malthus. Can you name a single instance in which the end of the world has been predicted and proved true ? The worlds oil reserves are projected to last longer today than at anytime in the past – and I can confidently predict that in a decade they are likely to last longer than today. The same is true of virtually every “scarce” resource. In fact it is the scarcity of a resource that ultimately drives us to figure out how to aquire it in abundance.

        Regardless, the last thing we want is our governments making policy choices based on malthusian prognostications that have NEVER proven correct.

        Simpson Bowles was idiocy. Though likely less idiocy than much of what comes from washington. Much of macro economics – based on real world data rather than keynesian nonsense. demonstrates that our standard of living rises as government spending decreases – atleast down to total government spending of 19% of GDP (probably much lower),
        that the benefits of a 1% increase in growth dwarf every social safetynet program ever conceived. Further this should all be common sense. Government can not consistently outperform the market in any choices it makes. It can not (and should not) try to be as efficient as markets (efficient government has a name – totalitarianism).
        Anything we can do individually or as voluntary groups will be inherently more efficient and better for us than what we do by force.

    • November 12, 2015 1:04 pm

      Moderation of behavior as described by the Bard:

      http://www.shakespeare-online.com/quotes/shakespearelawyers.html

      And do as adversaries do in law,
      Strive mightily, but eat and drink as friends.
      (The Taming of the Shrew, 1.2.280), Tranio

      • Pat Riot permalink
        November 12, 2015 1:47 pm

        Billy Boy certainly elevated the English language, and in the midst of all that back-stabbing and Jersey Shore behavior among monarchs and fools!

        The Bible says “nothing new under the sun,” but I’m not so sure. Back in the day the warriors and conquerors were idealized–Alexander the Great, et al. I’m glad large numbers of human beings have moved past that. Perhaps humanity has “jumped the shark” in a good way, but now what? Better i-phones? What a pregnant time of history. What will we raise up?

  48. Pat Riot permalink
    November 12, 2015 1:21 pm

    When one looks honestly at human history, including American history, i.e. the long train of exploitation, oppression, injustice, misunderstanding, and ignorance, and the periodic lulls or occasional stops at peace, prosperity, and cooperation, it is a wonder and profound disappointment to me how anyone can think our problems are generated by right wing or left wing, red or blue, progressive or conservative, or that our problems will be solved by Republican, Democrat, or Third Party, be it Libertarian or Tea Party or whatever, beyond being the lesser of evils. Our problems are deeper and more entangled than that, and the solutions depend on cooperation well beyond any party.

    At least I am hearing some of the candidates sometimes talk beyond party, as Carly Fiorina did the other night, though it is difficult to know where their true loyalties lie and how ineffective they might be rendered by combative factions.

    • dhlii permalink
      November 14, 2015 6:11 pm

      Human history is about learning to live and work together for our own benefit.

      It took hundred’s of thousands of years to work out that we needed social arrangements like tribes and ultimately nations to protect us, and thousands more to learnt that we are all better off when those governments interfere with our freedom the least.

      Violence has trended downward since the first human.
      The average cave man was lucky to live into their 30’s and 1/4 of them died of violence. now rates of violent death are below .1%. Over the past 4 centuries life expectance has nearly doubled with each century and the rate of violence has halved.

      The violence of early man was individual. The overwhelming largest cause of violent death in the 20th century was government.

      The past 400 years have taught those that would listen that “Governments are instituted among men to secure their inalineable rights” that whatever government does beyond that comes at the expense of our well being, and that our standard of living is determined by the extent of our freedom so long as government does secure out rights.

  49. Roby permalink
    November 12, 2015 1:47 pm

    Pat, its a great discussion you have started. I understand you very well. Its why I try to be objective, non-partisan, non-dogmatic and not ideological. Of course, I fail, those things cannot be truly removed from ones thinking. But one can try to be less dogmatic and ideological at least.

    A.) I talk too much here, I’ve become obsessive again. Perhaps I am obsessively moderate, which may just become another part of the spectrum that argues with and disrespects those who are not my idea of reasonable.

    B.) Its one thing to be partisan its another thing to have the proverbial mind like a steel trap that locks closed and stays locked. When a person has nothing but conservative or liberal opinions I suspect that they are really getting all their ideas from the mothership, even if they feel passionately that they evolved them on their own. That is a harmful kind of partisanship because people Should think and look at social problems with flexibility, both individually and collectively. The ideas that pure conservatives and liberals believe in are not even self consistent and far from it, e.g., they want total freedom from regulation in one area that is dear to them while wanting heavy regulation on areas that they have no empathy or experience with. So, in my view being a pure liberal or conservative and supporting the position and thinking of one ideology must lead to a lot of painful cognitive dissonance. This may explain my observation that the more partisan and ideologically obsessed people are, the more miserable they tend to be.

    C. Unfortunately humans always have and always will separate into bitterly competing teams, religion came first, followed by political ideology, Catholic vs. Protestant, Whig vs. Tory, they are one and the same thing in different clothing: Dogma. People have fought over ideas for all of recorded history, it mattered so much, for example, that Stalin not win and impose his idea of government and economics on the world that we, with the best of intentions, created an inferno that killed tens of millions of innocent people in southeast Asia. The battle of ideas matters, but it ain’t chess, people die in the millions for their or for other people’s ideas. I wish I could say that we will outgrow it.

    D. On the issue of the Fires that threaten us, I believe in democracy, but unfortunately democracy is only good for reacting to immediate questions. Long-term planning to fix, say, the deficit or global warming is all but impossible, people as a group vote based on their fears of what is going to get them tomorrow, not the things that threaten their grandchildren or great grandchildren in decades, let alone something like global warming, whose possibly dire consequences seem a hundred years away.

    E. I post too much. If I post more than once a day from here on, mock me please.

  50. Pat Riot permalink
    November 12, 2015 6:26 pm

    “obsessively moderate” haha

    Wait, maybe we shouldn’t create different levels of extreme reasonableness.

    “Why sir I’m afraid the man is extremely reasonable…”
    “Damnit! We will never get anything pushed through THAT way!”

    Roby, allow yourself to post more than once a day! I know posting can be time-consuming, but we can rationalize that it has a side-benefit of being a sort of therapy. Catharsis and all of that. Then you can disappear for a few days.

    But don’t say “…humans have and humans always will…” That presupposes we are a static reality when in fact we are evolving and sometimes can barely recognize our former selves! Some things we can’t un-learn. Here’s a real crappy example that just popped into my head: I remember in the 1970s people would commonly toss whole bags of trash, e.g. from a fast food joint, out the car window. I think the dopey thought process, or lack thereof, was “the trash guys will get it…” Then we had the TV commercial with the Native American on the roadside with the tear. Who remembers that? Amazing that we had to be told not to litter like that. I think most of us have gotten that blatant littering behavior out of our system. That’s a paltry example in comparison to national politics, global politics and war, but it just amazed me all over again that it was common behavior not too long ago. I’m hopeful that war will be as ridiculous one day when we are expert at the alternatives, when the alternatives are 2nd-nature, and obvious.

    We must outgrow more of our ignorance as a species, or else! Yes the battle of ideas does matter. Fight the good fight! We must. We must.

  51. November 13, 2015 10:08 am

    “Conservatives pride themselves on resisting change, which is as it should be. But intelligent deference to tradition and stability can evolve into intellectual sloth and moral fanaticism, as when conservatives simply decline to look up from dogma because the effort to raise their heads and reconsider is too great.” ~ William F. Buckley

    “Though liberals do a great deal of talking about hearing other points of view, it sometimes shocks them to learn that there are other points of view.” ~ William F. Buckley

  52. Roby permalink
    November 13, 2015 11:30 am

    Pat, thanks but its not the time it takes to write something, its the time I spend obsessively looking to see what replies have been made to my rants. I tried for all I am worth a few days back but have not been able to produce the result that I get an e-mail with new posts. I’ve been through the machinery and checked all the boxes to get e-mail notifications, but still they don’t come. So, I waste an amazing amount of time checking the site. As well, I just am too verbose and get too wound up. So, one post a day or I am a self-discipline weakling.

    At the risk of having all heck break loose, Missouri? Can that situation be examined for moderation and reasonableness or culprits who have not displayed it?

    I’m not there so I don’t know what the racial climate is like there and whether it was a nasty place to be a person of color, so I cannot judge the hunger striker or football team. Judging by the things that have been reported there was something going on there in the way of Bubba getting drunk and letting subtle racism become explicit racism.

    Unfortunately some of the complaints the activists made were the typical campus leftist boiler plate that I like to believe is ridiculous, counter productive and not popular, stuff like we demand that the president admit his white privilege, or we demand that the president resign because he did not issue any statement about Ferguson. That kind of student radical crap baggage just demeans the actual cause that the football team was promoting. Melissa Crisp behaved like an leftist fascist (in a very loose sense of the term) ass as well. Glad she got caught and lost her job. Then there are the white racist students making racist threats of a killing spree to even the score, which, like the actions of all dumbasses everywhere, only brilliantly supports the cause they hate.

    Are there any reasonable people on that campus? Yes, probably lots of them, even a majority, the idiots in this world just know how to attract attention. To be clear, I am not calling the hunger striker or football team idiots. (As an aside, I can fearlessly predict that 5 years from now Missouri will field pathetic sports teams, recruiters and alumni have a total disaster on their hands. Football and basketball success are a big big deal, with big money involved to a modern State University.)

    As is known, I can’t stand the college far left. In fact far lefties on campus do behave in a chillingly Leninist manner, I once saw Howard Zinn and various English Department Communist professors (they called themselves communists, its not my term) run a meeting at UVM after 9/11 that attracted every hippie leftist in a 20 mile radius, and it was utterly undemocratic; these people would repeat Lenin’s trajectory if they could.

    On the other hand, up till now at least, they have represented a very small percentage of Americans, its a Hippie College professor leading student activists thing, and even at UVM, one of the most liberal universities in the country it was actually a tiny number of students and professors, like 50 out of more than 10,000 they just know how to make themselves very loud.

    But, as much as the American far left makes me ill, they are not half as dangerous as the American far right, which inflames idiots who burn down black churches, kill black churchgoers and blow up federal buildings full of children and such. There is bad and there is worse. You’ll get a naive bumper sticker or sit in from the far left, you may get a bullet or a bomb from most extreme member of the far right.

    • November 13, 2015 1:02 pm

      Roby..I too have been having problems getting updates of any new posts made to this site. So now I am checking periodically to read anything new Rick might post. Right now I still get notifications of new comments after the first comment I make and click the “notify me” boxes. If you figure out what is wrong with ours let everyone know so when they start having issues they can fix the problem. I have not figured out my problem yet since I was receiving anything new that Rick or anyone else posted, but that is not the case now. And I did not change anything myself. It almost sounds like the “manage subscription options” at the end of all e-mails in WordPress has been altered to “block all notifications” in your WordPress account and not site specific to this site.

      By the way, if Trump gets elected we can add “worser” to your “There is bad and there is worse.”. When he gets his Jack Booted Goon Squad in place to round up 23,000 illegal immigrants a day to meet his 24 month target of shipping 12 million illegals out of the country, the rights and freedoms of everyone in this country will be endangered just like Nazi Germany during Hitlers reign. One can only pray that there are not enough (as you out it) ” American far right, which inflames idiots who burn down black churches, kill black churchgoers and blow up federal buildings full of children and such” that are the ones that would support Trump and his Goon Squad as the nominee. There has to be enough reasonable moderates in the GOP that would counter this idiocy.

      • November 13, 2015 1:26 pm

        I still get most notifications, although not all, Ron. I did set up a Disqus ID at some point and integrated it with WordPress, and I think that helped. I just can’t remember how I did it! But it must have been pretty simple, because I’m not that good at complicated computer stuff.

        I honestly think that Trump’s poll numbers are overrated. I know that there are people who think that he would make a good president, but, as time goes on, I think that he is losing support, because he is clearly not informed or prepared enough to hold the office. I never underestimate the stupidity of Republican primary voters, so I could be proven way wrong on this, but I’m hopeful that we’ll end up with a decent nominee.

      • November 13, 2015 2:17 pm

        I’m getting the email notifications of all your comments.
        I’m signed up through WordPress.

        My biggest problem is Reply from the emails.
        Clicking the Reply icon sends me to the top of the site, and it takes forever to scroll down to the bottom on my IPad tablet. On desktop I can page down quickly.

      • November 13, 2015 5:14 pm

        How interesting. Four people. Four different answers. One not problem, three three different problems. Somehow I think WordPress has some work to do on their product.

    • November 13, 2015 1:08 pm

      SORRY>>>TYPOS…When you figure out whats wrong with “your” WordPress let everyone know, not “our”

      Last Paragraph….”As you PUT it” not “As you OUT it”….

    • November 13, 2015 3:19 pm

      I’m pretty much on the same page as you are regarding Missouri but maybe shaded more negatively towards the Black protestors, and to the media coverage which is following the usual PC left slant.

      • November 13, 2015 5:36 pm

        I think it is time for the 28th amendment to the constitution that repeals the 26th amendment. In 1971 when this was ratified, 18 year old individuals were dying at an alarming rate in Viet Nam and the 18 year old people as a group were much more informed as to national defense and politics than those kids today. There may be a few things wrong at UM, but the way many are behaving, and add to that the actions at Yale concerning Halloween costumes, convinces me that the majority of 18-20 year old kids today are just that. Kids!!!!! To be qualified to vote, one should be able to listen to opposing views, make up their mind as to their own positions and when factual information is provided that shows the information that they used to form an opinion was wrong, they should be able to change their positions when needed. When we look at kids today on college campuses, one only sees a huge number of spoiled brats that can not express a coherent thought of their own. They are only regurgitating the sound bites feed to them by politicians or professors that will not allow any positions to be expressed that may be different than the ones they present to the students. Long gone are the universities that taught one how to think for themselves.

        Somehow this seems like brain washing to me. 18 is not old enough today compared to 1971 to vote. But the liberals would never stand for a change.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 14, 2015 7:04 pm

        The fundimental distinction between 1971 and today with respect to 18 year olds, is that they are far better off than in 1971 – so much so that they are much further divorced from the basic problems of human life.

        Our standard of living – in every quintile has doubled since 1971. Whether it is uneducated black minimum wage workers at McD’s or students at major colleges, 18year olds are far better off. They spend less time worrying about how will I survive and more worrying about their cultural heritage.

        Mostly that is a very good thing. But we need to grasp that just because our standard of living is higher does not mean that what we have come to expect is free – even if it is far cheaper than it once was.

    • dhlii permalink
      November 14, 2015 6:36 pm

      I suspect that the situation in Mizzou is complex, but it really does not matter.

      IF there is a climate of significant racial discrimination – is this a place you would pay to send your kids ?

      If this is a place where the left so dominates that they can remove the administration for insufficient deference to their cause of the day – is this a place you would pay to send your kids ?

      I have no problem with the excercise of economic power that minority football players used to remove several members of the administration.
      Boycott’s, protests, …

      But those actions are bidirectional. While I would not march or protest, I also would not send my children to a university where the football team dictated policy.

      I would not send my kids to a college where either Bernie Sanders or Ted Cruz would not be allowed to speak.

      I spent two years at Georgia Tech in the late 70’s. While that was not a bastion of racial equality at that time, and I am sure the student protesters at Mizzou would have found american history covering the “war of northern agression” offensive, at the same time racial slurs were unheard of, and there were no swastika’s painted on dorms.

      I am extremely dubious that Mizzou today is a more racially obnoxios than GA Tech in the late seventies.

      Discriminitation will never end – it is actually an essential requirement for a functioning society. We discriminate all the time – it is merely a loaded word for choice.
      And we do not and never will make choices perfectly.
      We are often going to make choices for reasons that are either irrelevant or even offensive.

      If you must hire someone and you have 100 applicants. Can you assure you will pick the best person for the job ? We pretend that is the only criteria you can use – when it is an unknowable criteria.
      Can I reject applicants because they have a criminal record, because they misspell things on their resume ? Because they came to the interview in jeans, because their hair was unkempt ? Because I just had a feeling about them ?
      I have 100 applicants. I need to get that down to 1 hire. Guaranteed whoever I chose, there was someone better that I missed.
      Further what right have I as an employer to the “best person for the job” ?

      All in all we have millions of jobs and millions of people seeking them. We are seeking to match them as best we can. It will not be done perfectly.

      As Friedman pointed out decades ago, employment discrimination is a self punishing act.
      If you refuse to hire blacks, that permits me to hire the best qualified blacks more easily.

      In general in the workplace I think we find the worst employers end up with the worst employees. And that seems about right to me.

  53. November 13, 2015 5:12 pm

    Sorry to have been AWOL lately (too many comments, too little time), but I just wanted to let you know that I’ll be writing my next column over the weekend. I was planning to cover the latest GOP debate, but my plan was pre-empted by the latest campus insanity. It’s an epidemic now, with young authoritarian ideologues dictating speech restrictions and demanding the heads of counter-revolutionaries. The Bolsheviks are alive and well.

    • November 13, 2015 5:58 pm

      Rick you might get or keep more followers if WordPress was fixed. I just realized that there were a large number of comments I never saw. Just thought I would let you know.

      • November 13, 2015 7:13 pm

        Ron (and everyone else), you should see two notification options at the bottom of the page… one for new posts and one for new comments. The WordPress icon on my iPad lets me know if there are new comments, so I don’t use the e-mail option myself. (I get too many e-mails as it is.)

      • November 14, 2015 12:35 am

        I only get one. It says “Notify me of New Comments via email. I used to get two, the other one said something like “Notify me of new post to this website”. I no longer have that option. And I click everything each time I comment. I was not aware that this “Hillary won!…..” post was there until I just looked because nothing had come through for a month or so. That’s when I found out in mid November this post had been made.

    • November 14, 2015 11:12 am

      RE college insanity – You may want to check out this excellent article a friend just forwarded to me…

      http://www.wsj.com/article_email/the-rise-of-the-college-crybullies-1447458587-lMyQjAxMTA1MDEzNDUxNDQ3Wj

      • November 14, 2015 2:02 pm

        Thanks for the link, Jay. I can always count on Roger Kimball for a fearlessly sane view of PC madness. (I laughed out loud at the demand by aggrieved Yalies to put up a monument declaring that the university was built on land stolen from indigenous peoples.) What really distresses me is the typical groveling response of the various university officials. I’d love to have seen how someone like Winston Churchill would have responded to these “crybullies.”

  54. Rick permalink
    November 13, 2015 9:41 pm

    Well, it looks as if my plan to write about the collegiate ideologues has now been pre-empted by the terror attacks in Paris. I can probably find a way to unite the two topics without much effort, though. Fine times we’re living in.

    • November 14, 2015 1:27 pm

      It will be interesting to see whether our solidarity with France extends to actually identifying the Islamist ideology and its followers that carried out the attack, or whether the academic denizens of “safe spaces” choose to call it “gun violence,” (as Michael Bloomberg already has) “an attack on all humanity and the universal values we share,”( which is obviously false, since jihadists do not share our values), or, maybe, when all is said and done, there will be a way for them to blame it on the economic hopelessness of the Muslim world, caused by Israel and the Western world.

      • November 14, 2015 2:25 pm

        The left is already starting with the “Western imperialism” argument… that with the rise of ISIS our chickens have come home to roost (or whatever the hoary analogy is). Of course, the West isn’t entirely blameless. (We seem to have a genius for propping up corrupt regimes.) But the leftists conveniently omit the fact that ISIS is attempting to establish a world caliphate and destroy everything in its path. Who knows… maybe they’re not averse to the idea of living under Sharia law. With the recent behavior of the college protesters, I’m seeing more of a similarity between the left and radical Islam, starting with a rigid intolerance of divergent beliefs.

  55. Pat Riot permalink
    November 14, 2015 10:02 pm

    “rigid intolerance of divergent beliefs”

    Yes, what happened to “live and let live,”
    “to each his own,”
    “e pluribus unum,”
    “different strokes for different folks,”
    “hang together or hang separately,”
    “strength through diversity”
    “it takes all kinds to make the world go ’round”
    freedom of expression
    respectfully disagree
    et cetera
    ?

    “If we cannot now end our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity.” –John F. Kennedy

  56. Roby permalink
    November 15, 2015 11:12 am

    Oh dear, Dave is back in full force, tread carefully folks. Back when my mailbox DID work he is the reason I had to turn it off. A brief glance over the volume shows that its business as usual, a few interesting statements, loads of absurd and oblivious statements, no ability whatsoever to yield any point, no matter how tiny, the mastery of the voice of authority technique, even when the words could not be more provably false. Not a bad man, but certainly a man who can sustain an argument forever, if that is one’s desire, to be in an argument that will never end, not because any progress is being made towards some kind of joint truth, but just because Dave’s obsessive right to be the genius who never compromises and is never wrong has been tailored to provoking more reasonable people to keep trying to find the tiniest misstatement that he will concede. In short it all begins innocently but Abandon All Hope, Ye Who Enter Here!

    • November 15, 2015 12:13 pm

      Roby, if you’ve ever read Les Miserables, Dave is our Inspector Javert. Maybe all blogs need an Inspector Javert to represent the fixed ideas around which the free minds play.

      • Roby permalink
        November 15, 2015 12:35 pm

        Hi Rick, I find it bad form to stick my nose into someone else’s conversation or pile on. But I can’t stop myself from doing it sometimes when a new poster discovers Dave to try if possible to save them from my own painful obsessive experience. Its a bit small of me perhaps, but I do remember the gazillion wasted hours very clearly that left me only a little bit better for all the effort.

        As well, I do have my own naive little hopes for the moderation of the New Moderate and Dave in full swing blasts them to bits, 1000 posts can be exceeded in no time with a great deal more heat than light.

    • November 15, 2015 1:08 pm

      Perfect ‘Victor Hugo’ description (per Rick’s allusion to the rigid-minded Inspector Javert 😏) for dhlii – or Dubious Dave – the nickname that now pops into my head when I see his screen initials.

      Thanks for your concern over time wasting. But generally I feel obligated to counter assertions I don’t agree with, rather then let them float uncontested into the Internet either. Plus it has given me an opportunity to try new brands of whisky, to soothe my irritation. My present open bottle is Makers Mark – one shot ameliorates three or four ‘Dubious’ posts 🍷

      • Roby permalink
        November 15, 2015 1:20 pm

        Ha, I’m not into “smileys” but the wineglass is hilarious. I just hope the Dave does not make record profits for Makers Mark.

    • November 15, 2015 3:59 pm

      Good Lord Roby!!! You used the “R” word in your next to last sentence and I just spent time trying to define that word. CAREFULL!!!!

      Hey, I would rather have a boat load of emails and when it is not in response to a comment I made, I can delete it than to be part of a blog where no one says a thing, everyone says the same thing or everyone is in personal attack mode. In most cases, none of these have occurred so far. I just wonder if Dave types 400 words a minute, has a voice activated word processor to type everything or how he can find the time to type those long post he writes. I would be typing all day.

  57. November 15, 2015 11:03 pm

    Silly me, Jay! I thought that, when you wrote “Also, the full unedited tapes of the interviews has never been provided for inspection, so nobody knows what else has been edited out”, you actually meant that you believed that the full unedited tapes of the interviews had never been provided for inspection.

    I was providing some links to show that the unedited tapes are, in fact, out there. And someone from Vox, whose views line up with yours actually spent 12 hours inspecting them.

    I honestly don’t really care that much about PP or the videos. It’s really far down on the list of political issues that I think about, but you mentioned it, so I opined. If that means that I don’t “read objectively,” so be it.

    • November 16, 2015 3:08 pm

      I don’t believe the full unedited tapes have yet been released.

      The 20 hour ‘unedited’ video viewed in the link you provided isn’t the complete raw footage of video and audio recorded. That full inventory was subpoenaed by a Senate investigating committee last month, and has still not been officially released.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 16, 2015 7:03 pm

        Again you are free to “beleive” whatever you wish. You can “beleive” that the moon is made of green cheese. That you “beleive” something does nto make that beleif credible or have the same weight as other “beleifs” that better conform to the evidence.

        http://www.adflegal.org/content/docs/ADF_Forensic_Analysis_Report-09282015.pdf

        Thus far the evidence is that raw data provided on the web, that provided to the various committees, and that provided to digitial forensics experts is all the same.

        That the “edited” data released is fully consistent with the unedited versions.

        And finally, though you are clearly completely wrong with respect to “editing”, that it would not matter. Raw, edited, whole or part, no claim that the content was somehow tampered with has stood up. What was said was said. that hours of unrelated blather was also said does not change what was said.

        Finally, as I have repeatedly noted – I do not care if PP traffics in fetal tissue.
        In fact I think they ought to.
        I care that they are sucking at the government tit.

        But clearly you care – alot.
        You make it clear that your world view requires you to beleive, that PP does not “profit” from the sale of fetal tissue. That the PP audios must be doctored or altered to grossly misrepresent what those on them said.
        That if there must be some deceptive right wing conspiracy.

        What I actually care about the recordings is that they demonstrate that PP and its supporters are lying. The actual truth is not so important – as I have no problem with PP traficking in fetal tissue. But the fact that they are lying about this, means they are less credible in everything.
        The fact that you stick doggedly to this nonsense means that you are not credible – on this and other things.

        Is there some “vast right wing conspiracy” to get PP – of course there is. The animus of those who made these recordings is no secret. But that animus does not “alter” the facts.

  58. Pat Riot permalink
    November 16, 2015 10:59 pm

    Well I think Dave makes a good point in his last paragraph. Dave I think you are saying this: even if the recordings were made by pro-life zealots, even if the motivation for making the recordings is more extreme than one’s stance regarding abortion, one should look at the facts that came out and judge Planned Parenthood on those facts (rather than taking a stance in one camp or another based upon who is closer to your views on abortion).

    Maybe I added to what you said a bit, but I think it is an example of what goes on way too much today, and that is people taking sides for their teams rather than looking at the facts of the particular case.

    We need cooler heads in this world. Even if we need to take decisive action (talking broader now to include ISIS, Syrian Immigration, and other issues now), we still need cool heads to take proper decisive action.

    • November 16, 2015 11:47 pm

      Exactly, Pat. It’s the “Amen Corners” syndrome, as Rick would say. The PP videos were a sting operation, and a very successful one. And it pissed off the people who believe that PP is a good organization, providing necessary services for women. And for those who think that PP is an abortion mill, getting way too much federal funding? Well, yay for the videos!

      It’s like when there’s a controversial call in a game, and the fans of the team that benefited from the call immediately start talking it up as the “Greatest. Call. Evah.”, and the other team is like “Bush League!!” “Homers!!” “Unfair!!” And everyone acts stupid and devoid of common sense.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 17, 2015 11:39 am

        What seems to be missing from much of the disussions is that many things can be true concurrently.

        PP is an organization that provides valuable services.
        It is also and abortion mill.
        Some people think that one service it provides – abortion, is an important positive good. Others think it is evil.

        That you or I do not hold the same position on that does not allow us to demand others hold our view.

        Regardless of how much I love Bacon, I can not use force a jew or muslim to eat bacon.
        Nor can I force them to pay to provide Bacon to others.

        PP was targeted by its opponents in a sting.
        Aside from this bizarre spin doctoring that Jay is engaged in the overall facts are really beyond dispute.

        PP receives money for selling fetal tissue.

        I have no problem with that.
        Jay I can not figure out. In his world selling fetal tissue at a profit is vile, but providing it at cost is a positive good. Is he same true for prostitution ? or Hamburgers ?

        But many people do have a problem with that.

        That is where principles come it.

        One sound principle, is that we should not use force to compel others to violate their principles.
        We need not share the same moral perceptions as others to refrain from imposing ours by force on them.

        You can beleive that PP provides an important service AND beleive that government should not fund it.

    • dhlii permalink
      November 17, 2015 11:08 am

      Your paraphrase is a sufficiently accurate subset of my argument.

      I would add:

      We must excercise judgement regarding the “meaning” of those audio’s.

      If we had audio of Al Capone ordering the St. Valentines day Massacre, where he said

      “Kill them all, for the good of humanity”

      Would his rationalizations mitigate his directions to act ?

      Whether we are evaluating the news, or sitting on a jury, we must weigh evidence before making decisions. When doing so we assign different things different weight.

      Jay accepts a statement of opinion or intention as a fact, merely because someone he wants to believe said it. He places more weight on PP’s statements of intentions, than he does on actual facts.

      We can test for the effects of our own biases by considering whether our evaluation would change if we change the speaker.

      Something that is true, is true whether it is said by Hilter, or Ghandi.

      Even with respect to statements of intention rather than fact, we weigh a speakers remarks more heavily when they are AGAINST their interests than when they favor them.

      And if we are being rational, we must weigh the statements of those we dislike with the same weight as those we like.

      If we are going to uncritically accept Hillary Clinton’s characterization of her email issues or PP’s comments on their intentions, then we must accept similarly credulous statements of those we disagree with.

    • dhlii permalink
      November 17, 2015 11:21 am

      We have principles that we should avoid compromising for many important reasons.

      I would as an example now support boots on the ground military action against ISIS.

      I have not changed – but their actions have breached a principle.

      We have no business ACTING with respect to the bad behavior of nations regarding their own peoples. We can deplore Assad, or ISIS, or the various internal conflicts in the mideast.
      But until they are directed outword we have no right to intervene.

      ISIS’s recent terrorism in France justifies action.

      The principle is the same one that applies to each of us as individuals.
      We may not interfere with the free choices of another – until they initiate violence against others. We may use force against those who use force against us or others.

      Most of us understand the principle of not negotiating with terrorists.

      When moderates are arguing for accomidation and compromise – do we compromise on principles such as negotiating with terrorists ?

      I keep stressing that compromise is a tool not a value. Too few here grasp that.

      • November 17, 2015 11:25 am

        I agree with you on the value of compromise as a tool, Dave. Compromising is a strategy, used to get as much of what you value as possible, and to lose only what you consider negotiable. But, when everything is “non-negotiable” it doesn’t work very well.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 17, 2015 12:38 pm

        That is why understanding what is an actual principle and what is not is critical.

        We can compromise values, but not principles.

        Separately I would note that regardless of values and principles, the accepted definition of compromise today seems to be capitulation to me.

        Every purported victory of the right in the past several years falls into the catogory of acting less stupidly then we could.

        Even the sequester did not actually roll back spending. It slowed the rate of increase in spending.

        The left rants about wall Street – but it has not even done what it claims to beleive is necescary. Dodd Frank is not even a fig leaf, though it is a disaster.

        I was reading recently that the CZAR put in charge of GM was surprised to find that as administrations changed from Republican to Democrat – nothing changed. Both administrations took the same posistions on everything related to the GM bailout.

        The left’s rant regarding Glass-Steagal is nonsense, regardless, they did not even try to unrepeal it.

        Both sides promised no future bailouts – yet Wall Street is snug in the understanding that next crisis, the bailouts will come.

        We can not even kill ExIm bank. Such purported anti-corporate stalwarts as Sen. Warren are its strongest defenders.

        before 2008 Fannie and Freddie cost us 200B dollars – even in washington that is real money
        The consensus was they were headed for conservatorship and death.
        Today they are a larger part of the mortgage market than before the crisis.

      • November 17, 2015 2:16 pm

        One only needs to listen to the closed door comments that sneak out now and then to know why nothing is happening about Wall Street. As for Glass Steagall, who was president when that was repealed? Who signed that legislation? Who was the president when the Community Reinvestment Act was passed? Who signed that legislation.

        I have heard from a couple sources on the news that Hillary talks about Wall Street one way in public, and then behind closed doors she tells her supporters “don’t worry about what I say”. Meaning, all her talk about Wall Street, higher taxes on them and more controls are lies to get her elected.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 17, 2015 11:05 pm

        You make to big a deal of the doors.

        While it is true that one party bears more of the blame than the other.

        The disasterous crony capitalist component of our politics is a bipartisan problem.

        The repeal of Glass-Stegal was BTW a good thing not a bad one. Despite the ranting of the left it actually made our banking system less fragile, not more.
        It was not re-instated – because it really was a bad idea.

        Regardless, you are not going to reign in the bending of government power to private interests by trying to handcuff those currently seeking to bend government power.
        Because if you executed all those connected influencers of government today – tomorow new crony’s would fill their shoes.

        If you wish to reduce influence peddling, you need to reduce what is being sold – government power.

  59. Pat Riot permalink
    November 17, 2015 6:59 am

    Yes, Priscilla, and although there might be a dozen rational solutions or paths regarding the Syrian refugee crisis, we see the two extreme teams quickly form:

    The liberal, progressive team says the refugees are fleeing war and we must take them in. We are the civilized, intelligent team. The other team is made up of stupid fear mongers and rednecks…

    The conservative teams says we gotta protect our own families and citizens first. Close the borders down! We don’t know which of the refugees hate us and would do us harm. The other team is a bunch of bleeding heart softies who don’t understand the real world…

    It doesn’t have to be one extreme or the other, but it’s difficult to work out rational & practical solutions when the sides quickly form and begin calling each other idiots. Proposed ideas get attacked and ridiculed instead of refined toward feasibility. Here in the USA we need national training to rid ourselves of knee-jerking into amen corners.

    • Roby permalink
      November 17, 2015 9:00 am

      Pat, you guys are dead on. Unfortunately one and the same person can exhibit both behaviors, partisan and objective, one is harmful the other rational. I ain’t excepting myself either, we all do it.

      • November 17, 2015 9:36 am

        It is possible to be partisan and rational. That’s where leadership comes in.

        I have read about a few solutions to the refugee crisis that would be somewhat acceptable to the reasonable people on both sides. I think that, under the circumstances, “somewhat acceptable” is as good as we’re gonna get. But, of course, most of our leadership, including, unfortunately, our president, is absolutist on this.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 17, 2015 12:08 pm

        I would argue that it is not the absolutists that are the problem, but often the compromises.

        Pres. Obama is not near as pro immigration as I am. In fact in innumerable areas he is incredibly self contradictory and hypocritical. this administration has deported far more people than any other. It conducts more raids, ….

        This administrations approach to immigration has failed – not because it is extreme, but because it is an incoherent mess with no real underlying principles.

        We can have a national debate over the question of whether we are willing to pay the costs of a principled position on immigration. But we can not argue that the cost is justified, without the value that the principle provides.

      • November 17, 2015 1:07 pm

        In large part, we are in agreement, Dave. My “absolutist” comment regarding Obama was specifically in regard to the Syrian refugees, not immigration in general.

        And of course, there is always going to be risk ~ trying to avoid one risk often increases other risks.

        But there is common sense. When terrorists have categorically stated that they will embed jihadists in the refugee population, the idea of taking in tens of thousands of undocumented refugees is just stupid and dangerous. We have no reliable way of vetting these people. If only one in 1000 is a terrorist and we take in 100,000, as the president wants to do, we will have several squads of the size that attacked Paris. Now, if Obama were to say something like ” I’m going to call for a moratorium on accepting refugees, until we can come up with a reasonable plan to help those who are truly refugees without imposing an unacceptable risk of deadly attack on our citizens” I would say that that would represent a common sense approach. But his is an absolutist one – “my way or the highway – shut up and let me rule.”

        It’s easy to say “Oh yeah, there are always risks.” I mean, there is the risk of driving a car – you could possibly get in a crash. There is the risk of running into a burning building – you might never come out. And there is the risk of pulling the trigger on a loaded gun pointed at your head – you will almost certainly end up dead or as good as….

      • November 17, 2015 10:40 pm

        When Terrorists get us to change our values because we are scared of them – they have won.

        If you beleive that we should take in Syrian refugees, then the terrorist threat to embed jihadists among them should do no more than cause a bit more scrutiny – at most.

        On the practical side it is far more difficult for a terrorist to operate in the US.
        9/11 was extremely difficult to pull off, required and enormous amount of luck.

        From the moral perspective I am not sure that matters.

        If we save 100,000 people from the hell that is syria, end up with 100 terrorists infiltrating the country and lose a couple of dozen lives, that is a net good.

        But we have to be honest with ourselves about what we are doing. Very few things in the world have no downside.

        We have to quit pretending the Freedom is Free, that we can have everything we want without cost.

        The right choices are usually clearly superior to the alternatives. But they are not risk free.

      • November 18, 2015 1:22 am

        “If we save 100,000 people from the hell that is syria, end up with 100 terrorists infiltrating the country and lose a couple of dozen lives, that is a net good.”

        1. If someone can tell me why Kuwait (who we saved their asses from a dictator), Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Morocco, Qatar and Bahrain have not taken any refugees when those people are Muslim and give me a good reason other than they refuse to accept those individuals, then I may be open to bringing some children, women and older men to the USA. No men between 15 and 45 or 50.

        2. If you think that 100 terrorist will only kill a couple dozen individuals, you need to stop commenting until you read the paper or watch the news. There were 8 (possibly 9) that killed somewhere around 135 people and injured about 3 times that number, some critically. So it does not take a math major to figure out that 100 terrorist would be able to kill many more than a couple dozen individuals. So using some numbers from Paris, two individuals killed 11 people in the Charlie Hebdo killings. That is 5 each. In this case 8 killed 135+. That is 17 each. So a good terrorist will be able to kill at least 5 people each, so when 100 are allowed into the country, we are looking at a minimum of 500, not 24.

        Your position that this would be a net good is only a net good to someone that could be used as a poster child for the Bleeding Hearts Liberal Club. I find it almost impossible to believe any sane person could find this a reasonable position to take.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 18, 2015 9:51 am

        We should take these people – because we and our nation will be better for it.

        If other nations do not want them – that is their loss.

        Human beings are not liabilities, they are assets, they are the “ultimate resource”.

        I argue for open boarders.

        While there is a humanitarian argument here, it is unnecescary. We need not do this out of altruism. We can easily do it out of self interest

      • November 18, 2015 12:43 pm

        A few days ago this site had comments about personal attacks compared to the debating of issues. I have tried hard to avoid any of those personal comments. But sometimes I find your wandering comment to be impossible to follow and after 20 or so comments, many of the newer ones are contradictory of the older ones.

        But this one I call BS and find it only a position an insane person can take

        “We should take these people – because we and our nation will be better for it.”
        “Human beings are not liabilities, they are assets, they are the “ultimate resource”.

        How in the hell can we be better off bringing in (what you say 100 terrorist) that will end up being able to kill 500 to over 1000 of our citizens? Are these terrorist a better asset for the USA than the people they will end up killing? Are you saying that the ultimate resource we want in this country are more people killing our citizens instead of the children that will grow up as productive citizens that these lunatics will slaughter?

        To me these are positions only a severely mentally challenged person would take. It is one thing to be ignorant of current events and not know the ramifications of certain decisions. It is far different to express the knowledge (such as 100 terrorist coming in with refugees) and espouse the support for that action to take place.

        Hopefully more clearer minds will rule the day, as yours is clouded with some type of weird hallucinogenic.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 18, 2015 7:15 pm

        Ron;

        If I have engaged in attacks against a person rather than against their arguments – I apologize. But I do not think I have.

        My suspicion is that what you views as inconsistency, is just a perspective you are unfamiliar with. You expected me to beleive one thing and were surprised that I do not.

        Currently the US admits about 250K muslims per year – that is before these syrians.
        Muslims are currently the 4th largest faith in the US with about 3M faithful. That is about 75% as many muslims as are in France.

        How many people have died at the hands of jihadists in the US since 9/11 ?

        No the tiny portion of actual terrorists that manage to get in are not assets – but the 99.9% or more who are not are assets.
        The current risk of an american being killed by an act of terrism are about 1:3.5M
        Muslims in the US are more likely to be victims of violence than perpatrators of it.

        Regardless, you are beating a straw man to death.

        No doubt if we bring in 10,000 people of any kind we will get a few we bad apples.
        But we will get 10,000 mostly good apples and we will be better for it.

        I do not wish to insult you but the mental challenge is yours.

        You see only the bad, and fail to grasp the far greater good.

        I hope clear minds will prevail – but I doubt that. Our political choices are not driven by rationality and logic. They are driven by emotion and distortion. By people who see red when they hear of 10,000 muslim refugees.

        This response is no different than that faced by my irish ancestors, or the italians, or the jews, or the asians, or the poles, or ….

      • November 18, 2015 11:59 pm

        So lets go back to your original comment. You stated something like we will get 10,000 and in that we may get 100 terrorist. Based on those numbers and the fact that each terrorist can kill 10+ people and most likely many more, I would not accept that risk. I am not beating a straw man to death, I am stating a fact and I will make sure my legislators know my positions.

        So now lets go to the real problem that exist. No middle eastern nation is taking any of these individuals except those that are bordering the conflict nation. So I want to know why they are not accepting refugees who have more in common with them than the EU and America. What are they afraid of? Someone in those countries knows something that we do not know.

        The second problem that exist is the inability to properly screen these individuals. The ones that you mention most likely have gone through extensive background checks. Can the refugees that are now in or making their way into the EU be properly screened like those that proceeded them to America? If they can and the government proves that sufficiently to everyone, then I would be open to these individuals coming here. I would also accept without any checks small orphan children. With minimal checks, senior citizens, the disabled and anyone else that we could identify as not being a threat. But any male 14-45 would find it extremely hard to get in for two reasons. One, they are the profile of a terrorist and two, they should be home fighting for their country just like American men have fought and died for others for freedom. There is not one American life worth one Syrian life if they will not stay home an fight for a free country. To me they are cowards and America does not need cowards.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 19, 2015 1:06 am

        Still trying to make the math work – well it doesn’t.

        First I did not claim you will get 100 terrorists per 10,000 people, that is some random claim on the web – the reality is likely far less. You really think ISIS has 100 of the right people all ready trained loyal, …

        We are not talking about guys you can use for cannon fodder against Asad.
        You need somebody who either knows the language or can learn, who can operate without much supervision and orders in a foreign country for a very very long time, and who is not already on somebody’s watch list. And probably who are willing to commit suicide for the cause. Al Qeda had alot of trouble coming up with 20 people for 9/11.

        Then you got to mix them into the refugee population and they have to avoid getting caught.
        Then they have to get to the US, and function on their own for a long long time.
        They have to avoid contact with anyone who would bring them to the attention of authorities.
        They have to get jobs and support themselves, as well as raise the money to purchase weapons. All this without attracting any attention. And they have to do it without deciding they like it here and are no longer interested in dying for ISIS. Things here are not the same as in France. They are thousands of miles away from any support network, and AK 47’s are just not readily availble.

        If you actually had 100 ready to go infiltrators, you are going to be very very lucky if 10 make it to the US, aquire weapons, maintain interest and are prepared to go the next step.

        Next, there is absolutely no sane reason to expect that Some Jihadi will be any more successful than other lone wolf mass murderers in the US. So expecting them to kill ten people with each incident is a stretch. We have lots of people who try to shoot up schools or similar – few are as successful as Lanza or Holmes.

        You can make them more effective by getting them together into teams – but that also makes them far more likely to be discovered. You can also make them more effective by providing them with support, money other resources – which is what Al Qeda did with the 9/11 crew.
        But that poses tremendous logistical problems and again makes them more vulnerable.

        You really should look into the logistics of 9/11. This stuff is extremely hard to pull off in the US. Again you take note of the “successes” the guys like Lanza and Holmes, but fail to note that for each of them there are alot of failures. Further guys like Lanza and Holmes are not cookie cutter jihadi’s they were very intelligent and seriously disturbed. You are expecting relatively ordinary jihadi’s to be as effective as a paranoid schitz.

        There are enormous numbers of variables and odds, and statistics. The odds against 9/11 being as successful as it was were enormous. Essentially Al Qeda got very lucky.

        Anyway, you are worried about something that is unlikely to amount to all that much.

        Further, if ISIS has the people who could manage this successfully – they do not need to piggy back on a syrian immigration scheme. They are already clean enough etc. they could get a visa and come over anyway. Or get to Mexico and cross the border or ….

        The point is what you are positing is pretty difficult to pull off.
        But if it is doable at all – then it is as doable otherways.
        Slipping Jihadi’s into the immigration stream is no easier than many other ways to accomplish the same thing.

        Finally, lets say they manage something successful.
        ISIS will have then guaranteed a much larger US military response.

        I am honestly surprised that ISIS attacked France. The split between ISIS and Al Qeda was specifically over the choice of forces on the ground in the mideast fighting for an islamic state and acts of international terrorism.

        Those approaches are NOT compatible. ISIS can get away with all kinds of vile acts – very very close to home. We really do nto care much. They can behead some journalists, and torture locals. and we are not going to do much beyond rail.

        But something that has pretentions of being a nation would be extremely unwise to commit and act of war against a world power like France much less the US.

        I have no clue whether the french will keep things up, But atleast for the moment they are intent on destroying ISIS. And unlike Al Qeda we KNOW where ISIS is.
        We know where they are because they CHOSE to try to be a nation.

        Just because you are scared of something, just because you can dream it up, just because it is remotely possible, does nto make it anywhere near likely.

      • November 19, 2015 1:37 pm

        Last night the light came on. I have fallen for the DemRep trap set up by the political parties. I have been sucked in by the Presidential Division committee. That committee is a group of political hacks that review daily the news of the world and report to the president those issues where he can take action to divide the country for political reasons. The refugee program was an idea program as it contains emotional reactions to any decisions he makes.

        You have made many comments and I have not responded. I have ask questions and you have not answered. That is perfect!!! That is exactly what they want. If they did not, the intelligent move to make would be for the president to sit down one-on-one with the other parties political leaders, no cameras, no administrative assistants taking notes, no recordings, no nothing, and work out a compromise that can be taken to each party to move a program though the red tape and resettle refugees in the country. But that does not happen.

        The President did not tell us how long it would take to clear any one Syrian before coming to America. He did not tell us how he would balance those refugees that would be taking slots that other refugees may lose due to the limits our government sets on refugees. All he said we 100K refugees would be coming and the red flags went up. States said no and he said he could do anything he wanted.

        So the next time something like this occurs, I hope I can remember to not fall for the political parties DemRep trap and wait to comment after I have looked behind the facade of political rhetoric to determine the real issue that has been proposed. In this issue the two political parties have united to find a emotional issue that will motivate a few thousand individuals to vote that normally do not vote. There only desired outcome is control and has nothing to do with what is best for the country. It is what is best for their party, what is best for their reelection and what is best for their donors. We, the people, are way down their *&^% list of important items.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 19, 2015 5:15 pm

        To the extent I am defending Obama on this – mostly I am arguing something quite distinct from what he is, it is because for once he is somewhere close to right.

        If you wish to trash this administration for abysmal mid-east policy that certainly made the problems in the mideast far worse – I will join you.

        But I am pro-immigration and open boarders, not pro-obama.

        I part with the left on immigration in many places – but mostly in recognizing that freedom, including free immigration is not compatible with the welfare state.

      • November 19, 2015 5:49 pm

        He has achieved what he set out to do. He has split the country right down the middle. In a recent Bloomberg poll “Fifty-three percent of U.S. adults in the survey, conducted in the days immediately following the attacks, say the nation should not continue a program to resettle up to 10,000 Syrian refugees.”

        Now that is splitting the country almost in the middle. Some would wonder why 47 Democrats voted against the president in the House Syrian bill. You can make up your own mind, but I have my own ideas and it pertains to careers, not safety.

        He is the master in “divide and conquer” And he is setting the stage where Hillary can take a liberal stance on security and still look tough since she would follow such wishy-washy policies of the current administration.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 20, 2015 10:38 am

        Not going to defend Pres. Obama.
        That he and I somewhat agree on this one issue is accidental at best.
        My position is rooted in principle.
        I do not think he has principles.

        53% oppose, only 28% support and the remainder are unsure.
        Opposition is far greater than support.

        But what is right and what is popular are often not the same thing.
        Just as sometimes those pushing for the right solutions have the wrong reasons.

      • November 20, 2015 2:16 pm

        Good grief! I swear you could take white and black paint, mix it together, ask someone if they like the gray color and then when someone like me said that was a nice shade of gray, you would argue it was charcoal, silver, metal, Platinum or some other “color” than gray just to debate an issue. I think you must have been on the debate team in school and had to take sides with different issues that you may or may not have supported and learned how to debate stuff from every angle possible.

        So 53% of the people oppose this issue and the other 47% have no opinion, they are out to lunch and could care less or they support that position. In my mind, if you could care less with something like this then you a much closer to those supporting something than you are with those opposing it.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 20, 2015 4:27 pm

        You have a point.

        Priscilla Agreed with you on some assertion, as did I.

        She responded “”Agreed”.
        I responded with a dissertation – “Agreed” was sufficient.

        I was not on a debating team. But I have had to take devils advocate positions.

        I have proposed the “ideologicial turning test” as a test of ones ability to be objective.

        Lets see each of us here, creates another alias, and then returns to post under that alias arguing a different ideological perspective.

        You understand the position of your opponent when you can do so and they can not detect that it is not your actual view.

        I tripped over this elsewhere – I think on EconLog.

        As a rule of thumb libertarains better understand the positions of others.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 20, 2015 4:38 pm

        Have no oppinion is not nearly the same as support.
        Likely those with no oppinion will break eventually in the same proportions as the decided.
        So if it is 53:27, then the undecideds will likely break 2:1 opposed.
        That is given there are not other factors that cause them to be undecided.

        In national politics as an example undecideds usually fall slightly republican.
        Partly because there are lots of people who are not willing to identify as Republicans, but vote like republicans, and they tend tell pollsters they are undecided.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 19, 2015 5:16 pm

        What have you asked that I have not responded to ?

      • November 19, 2015 5:52 pm

        Why Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the UAE, Bahrain and other middle east countries that do not border Syria are not willing to accept refugees that have much more in common with them than the EU or America?

      • dhlii permalink
        November 20, 2015 10:52 am

        I did not answer because I do not care and it is not relevant.

        The argument for accepting these people in UAE …. is the same as the US.
        But the UAE makes its own choices, and if they want to make bad ones, all the better for us.

        Regardless, the argument that other people are behaving stupidly therefore I should is an obvious fallacy.

        If you argue that the sun will not rise tomorow must I refute it ?

      • dhlii permalink
        November 19, 2015 1:10 am

        When you are terrified of something that is extremely difficult and highly unlikely – and operating as if it is near certain then you are beating a straw man to death.

        Terrorists groups would love to hit the JackPot with an event in the US. There have been a few efforts. Outside of 9/11 they have been failures – often spectacular failures.

        We see muslim terrorism where we do, not because those places are their top priority targets, but because those places are easy.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 19, 2015 1:14 am

        What is properly screen ?
        The US actually does a far better job of screening than any other nation.

        And we have the luxury of far more time. Not only does it take longer to get here, but once here it takes longer to mount an operation. Time is the enemy of the Jihadi.
        Operating far from home is exponentially more difficult the longer you must do so.
        It requires significantly higher levels of skill and the greater the required skill level the more certain that the person with those skills has left a trail.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 19, 2015 1:20 am

        BTW the overwhelming majority of those coming are in those “safe” catagories of yours.

        And wow, you have prejudged these people and condemned them to death.

        You want them to stay home and “fight for freedom”.
        Which side is that – Asad ? ISIS ?
        There is a multi-way civil war in Syria and there is no “freedom fighters” side.
        Maybe there was a few years ago. But no longer.
        And aparently you think everyone 15-45 is GI Joe.
        Are people allowed not to want to fight at all ?

      • dhlii permalink
        November 18, 2015 10:50 am

        Not a bleeding heart.

        My position that this is a net good, is because societies benefit, grow, standards of living rise as a result of greater diversity, and even just larger numbers of people.

        The entry of China into the bottom of the first world is an incredibly big deal – even with their current weakness. That is an additional 1.6B people with wants and needs similar to ours and atleast some of the wealth necescary to acheive those.

        A disease with too few victims to be economically treated in the US may become treatable with the addition of 1.6B people to the first world. Further China is absent much of our ludicrous overhead in medical research. They will likely kill more people from bad drugs than we do, but they may find more cures than we do, because they have more people, more incentive and less overhead.

        That people – even syrian refugees are on net an asset not a liability.
        They are no different from the immigrants of the 19th century.
        Did they ruin this country ? Or were they instrumental in help

        I beleive the US is exceptional.
        But not because of its geography or natural resources, or because males of northern european descent are inherently superior to the rest of the world.
        We are exceptional because of the high value we place on freedom.
        And that value is contagious. It infects those who come here.
        Partly because seeking out the US is itself self selecting for exactly the people we want.

        Whether an Ecuadoran or a syrian. Those who struggle the most do get here – no matter how poor, are exactly the people we want.

        We are complaining about the snowflakes in our colleges. What we need is more weeds.

        I am not particularly worried about terrorists for similar reasons.

        How many instances of terrorism in the US are tied to mideastern jihadists ?
        9/11 is pretty much the only instance. It is extremely difficult to run a mideastern terrorist cell in the US. Even the 9/11 attacks went to enormous trouble to isolate the jihadists from the corroding effects of this country.

        Nearly all the islamic terrorism from this country comes from US born teens, and even that is rarely successful.

        ISIS or Al Qeda can sent a couple of hundred jihadi’s, but they have to survive here for long periods, functioning inside our culture. They must either join our society, take jobs, and support themselves, or they must have significant outside support which will attract attention.
        Either way they are vulnerable.

        US terrorists even Jihadi terrorists are home grown, because they do not need much outside support. They already function in our society. They have families, jobs, a support system.

        I would also note – the left rants about the lack of gun control in the US.
        Well there are no ak47’s available on the streets – or really pretty much anywhere.
        An AK-47 fires 100 rds/min. sustained. and fires the equivalent of a 30 calibre round.
        While an AR-15 the weapon the left rants about requires one trigger pull for each round fired, and fires the equivalent of a 22 caliber round.
        James Holmes went into the Aurora theater about as well armed as you can get in the US. and managed to kill 12 people. The Jihadi’s at the Bataclan killed over 100 under similar circumstances.

        Frankly I think ISIS’s attacks on Paris were a strategic mistake.
        ISIS distinguished itself from Al Qeda by focusing on military success in the mideast and not world wide terrorism. They strive to be a nation, to hold and control territory, to function as a nation, producing oil and supporting themselves and a military through taxes.
        That makes it possible for them to grow and become much larger. It also makes them easier to destroy. We are very very good at obliterating armies. We are not so hot at chasing down hidden terrorists cells accross the mideast. States have layers and layers of infrastucture.
        They have more resources and power and greater vulnerability.

        We might have tolerated ISIS as an incredibly repugnant state, executing those who walked into its web, But once they reach outside that web and start killing in Paris the will exists to destroy them, and unlike Al Qeda they are fixed in place. It will take alot of resources, but it is a job we know how to do.

        ISIS is not Al Qeda, it can not survive as both an islamic state and as an international terrorist organization.

      • November 18, 2015 12:53 pm

        Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!You made my point about 1 person killing more than 10 people. So by your count 100 terrorist sneaking in with 100,000 refugees will be able to kill a minimum of 1000 citizens. Does not add up in my minds.

        I know why the other middle eastern countries will not take these people. They also know about the terrorist hidden in the group. Just this morning they identified a few at the Turkey border trying to get into the EU. So how many got through?

      • dhlii permalink
        November 18, 2015 8:31 pm

        As noted we have nearly 3M muslims in the US. We are bringing them in at the rate of 250K/year. There are not 100, much less 100’s of victims of muslim terrorism in the US/year.

        The US already has about 6 violent deaths/100,000 people per year. I doubt there will be any change as a result of muslim terrorists.

        Lets say that ISIS manages to sneak in 100 jihadi’s, in 10,000 immigrants.

        First few of those 100 will ever actually engage in an act of terrorism. The US is one of the hardest environments in the world for a terrorist to operate in. Our values and culture are infectuous. Al Qeda was extremely careful with 9/11 cells. It kept them isolated, not merely to hide them but also to prevent them from being corrupted by our culture.
        As terrorist operations go 9/11 was difficult and expensive. What we have seen in the US subsequently has been disturbed loan wolves – indistinguishable from Holmes or Lanza – except that they happen to be muslim.

        Is ISIS going to duplicate what Al Qeda did with 9/11 – and keep these guys isolated for more than a year ? Or are they going to be allowed to go out and form families, get jobs, …..
        If the latter they are unlikely to remain dangerous terrorists very long.

        You read too much Clancy or watch too much MI5. I love the books and the shows, but I do not confuse them with reality.

        The US is not Nigeria, or even France. There are reasons there is far less terrorism here, and reasons why most of it is either domestic or the acts of disturbed young men who happen to be muslim.

        Why are you making the same errors with respect to this that the left constantly makes with economics and everything else.

        Our fears are not reality, nor are they rational. They are not a justification for turning away people who want to be here.

        Personally, I do not think the accident of our place of birth grants any of us more entitlement to the benefits that acrue to living in this country – not the government benefits – those can go to H#!!. But the benefits of freedom.

        Our govenrment is obligated to protect my rights and my property. But it is neither obligated nor in my view permitted to interfere with the non-violent efforts of others to aspire to the same – whether they were born in syria or Boston.

        I do not beleive we owe those less fortunate than us a share of the wealth we have created on our own. But we are not permitted to deprive them of the opportunity to attempt to do the same – merely because we are affraid.

      • November 19, 2015 12:08 am

        I offer that the reason we do not have the problem is due to the water that isolates us from the middle east, unlike the EU where they can almost walk all the way. It is much harder for them to get here. Not that they get assimilated into our society when they come and leave their radical leanings.

        So to conclude this discussion, this all will come down to one thing. Can the liberals and those that support liberal positions defeat legislation that will prevent any further refugees coming into the USA. That legislation is well on its way to the presidents desk who has vowed to veto it. Then will 2/3rd of the senate vote to sustain the veto and risk that vote being used against them in their reelection campaign.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 19, 2015 1:25 am

        Whatever the reason it is FAR MORE DIFFICULT to mount an islamic terrorist operation in the US. You have already accepted that. You need to accept the consequences of that.

        Nor am I particularly fond of RealPolitik arguments – whether they are made by the left or the right.

        The president is in trouble on this issue – because his credibility in the mideast is shot.
        But even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

        Regardless, the principled choices and the popular choices are rarely the same.
        One of the reasons that pure democracy is a horrid form of government.

      • November 19, 2015 1:23 pm

        “Our values and culture are infectuous. Al Qeda was extremely careful with 9/11 cells. It kept them isolated, not merely to hide them but also to prevent them from being corrupted by our culture.”

        What world of denial are you living in?

        Our values and culture didn’t stop the Dzhokhar brothers, who received political asylum in the US and appeared to assimilate, from their terrorist attack at the Boston Marathon. Or Major Nidal Hasan who murdered 13 US soldiers at Fort Hood.

        And immersion in American culture didn’t stop other American born Islamic terrorists from joining in foreign and domestic activities, Anwar al-Awlaki, involved in the failed plot to bring down a jetliner over Detroit, or Adam Gadahn who was Bin Ladin’s media advisor, or numerous other Muslims who were stopped before they were able to do harm, like Jose Padilla arrested while planning to explode a nuclear dirty bomb, or Tymam Faris, naturalized US Citizen from Pakistan who was planning to destroy the Brooklyn Bridge in NYC, James Elshafay, another Pakistani immigrant arrested on charges of planning to bomb a subway station in NYC, or the men in Northern Virginia accused of being part of a jihadist network, or Ahmed Omar Abu Ali — the list goes on here:

        https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/intelligence-report/2015/30-terrorist-attacks-and-plots-homegrown-jihadists

      • dhlii permalink
        November 19, 2015 5:00 pm

        Try the real world.

        Regardless of ethnicity or religion we have some nutcases who will do vile things.

        Timothy McVeigh, James Holmes, Theodore Kazynski, Adam Lanza, …..
        Or should we go back to Sacko and Venzetti ? Are we going to vett all italians coming into the country ?

        Which of these were islamic terrorists ?

        Of course assorted terrorist groups have and will continue to attempt to strike the US.

        Though I would note few if any have been prevented by our government. Most we stopped by individuals unprepared to allow their seatmate to blow them up.

        The 9/11 operation got extremely lucky. They found 20 fairly educated operatives willing to commit suicide – those are not a dime a dozen, and that is what you need to hole up in the US for long periods, and hijack airplanes. And even then Al Qeda had to support them, isolate them from the US popoulation – because our values are sufficient powerful as to undermine the religious zeal of intelligent operatives. After that, the hijackers used box cutters – because other weapons were to difficult to get to likely to attract attention and to hard to get on planes. Then they had to deliberately seek out routes with lots of fuel and few passengers originating near their targets. Because too 4 guys with box cutters are not much of a threat to a plane load of passengers. Finally 9/11 is non-repeatable. The hijackers broke the covenant with the hijackees. The promise that if they just behaved government would eventually rescue them. The greater the certainty of death not matter what the harder it is to control people.
        This is a big part of why most subsequent terrorist plots have been stopped by ordinary people – not governments. We understand our safety is ultimately in our own hands.

        The list as you say goes all over, but in fact since 9/11 very little in the way of US terrorism has occured, and what little there has been is NOT the product of organized action.
        It is all the actions of those who were either born here, or atleast lived here a long time and became subsequently radicalized.

        Because it is not easy to pull this stuff off in the US. Contrary to popular presumptions societal freedom makes us more not less secure.

      • November 19, 2015 5:48 pm

        “Or should we go back to Sacko and Venzetti ? Are we going to vett all italians coming into the country ?”

        Another overreaching generalization without consideration of time and place. If present day terrorists were primarily Italians you bet your ass we’d scrutinize them carefully. same as we carefully watched arrivals from China, Etc, during the SARS epidemic.

        “Of course assorted terrorist groups have and will continue to attempt to strike the US….Though I would note few if any have been prevented by our government. ”

        Did you not read what I commented above, or go to the link showing thwarted attempts? Or do contrary facts just vanish into the void between your ears?

        “societal freedom makes us more not less secure.”

        And if you eat your vegetables like a good little boy, you will grow up healthy, wealthy, and wise.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 20, 2015 10:28 am

        Turn of the century violent anarchists were primarily italians.

        If you are going to make time and place factors – they have to work.

        Should we have barred italians because that brought us organized crime ?

        Yes we scrutinized travelers from China during SARS.
        We did not shutdown all travel to china.

        While I actually argued here that reasonable quarantines of people returning from West Africa was acceptable – that is not the same as barring travel to/from west africa.

        You are seeking to bar syrians because there might be terrorists.

        I personally beleive that little more than cursory vetting is going to weed out most of them.
        Unfortunately it is going to get the least dangerous ones. The ones that stick out.
        But that is the overwhelming majority.

        The ones to worry about are the ones that do not stick out, the ones that will be able to survive and thrive on their own in the US, that will not be corrupted by our culture, and that are prepared to commit acts of terrorism.
        The necescary combination of skills is rare. It is unlikely to be caught by any vetting, and those people will be able to get in, even if we do nto accept thousands of syrian refugees.

        But if you want to propose a reasonable vetting process – fine. But demonstrate that it actually provides a benefit worth the cost.

        When you say we (government) must do something, because …. because otherwise is scary and maybe dangerous, your argument is no different nor better than those on the left who do not see any expansion of government as unjustified.

        You do not get to just assert baldfaced we must spend more on vetting.

        You must demonstrate a value, and not just the presumption that spending money produces the result we spent money to acheive.

        Government loves to spend money. It does nto care very much about delivering value for that spending.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 20, 2015 10:35 am

        We all know of thwarted attempts since 9/11.

        Government loves to take credit.
        For years the FBI was entrapping muslim youth in the US and then trying them as terrorists.
        that was not thwarting anything.

        NSA loves to say their spying programs have thwarted terrorism.
        There is no actual evidence they have.

        Even if our government was totally incompetent – some efforts are going to be “thwarted”.

        Since 9/11 the largest number of attempts actually disrupted were done by ordinary people, not government.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 17, 2015 10:49 pm

        If we exclude those 100,000 syrians – we may exclude 100 jihadi’s.
        We may also exclude the next Steve Job’s.

        All our actions have consequences, some seen some unseen.
        We have to factor in the unseen as well as the seen consequences of our choices – particularly the public ones.

        This dichotomy between the seen and unseen effects flows through nearly all public choices.

        We raise the Minimum wage – we can see that many people will get paid more.
        But we want to pretend the unseen consequences will not happen. That employers will not shift from employing teens to adults, or from low skilled workers to higher skilled workers, or that they will not automate or that they will not forgo expanding employment.

        We can not know precisely what the unseen consequences of raising the MW are. But we actually can know that they will on net be negative and larger than the sen consequences.

        We can know some of the seen consequences of allowing in 100,000 syrian refugees.
        We can not know what will not happen if we do not.

        But we can know that over sufficient time more freedom always out performs less.

      • November 17, 2015 2:11 pm

        “This administrations approach to immigration has failed – not because it is extreme, but because it is an incoherent mess with no real underlying principles.”

        And why is that? I offer that there are too many absolutists and not enough legislators that will compromise. We need a completely new immigration policy based on needs and not the archaic method of allowing individuals in by country or some other outdated allocation method.

        So just maybe if someone would compromise and accept a percentage of their desired outcomes, we could get a much better coherent immigration policy unlike the incoherent mess we have today.

        But going back to Pat’s original comment, there are too many people on the far left that want a more progressive immigration policy and others that want a much more constrictive policy and since those groups will not compromise, we are stuck with the mess we have.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 17, 2015 10:59 pm

        With respect you are entirely upside down.

        “Give me your tired, your poor,
        Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
        The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
        Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
        I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

        Whose family has been here more than 400 years ?
        We are all uninvited immigrants to this country.
        Even the “native americans” displaced and slaughtered those who preceded them, who had done the same themselves.

        You own your home, your car. You do not own the country.
        Allowing someone else the opportunity to breath free causes you no harm.
        This country is not zero sum.
        Our greatest periods of growth have been our greatest periods of immigration.

        My daughter is from China, my son from Korea. How are they different from Syrian refugees.
        Those refugees atleast made a free choice to come here.

        Don’t we want more of the people who desperately want to come here ?

        How are syrian refugees or central american illegals any different from the pilgrims or indentured servants at Jamestown ?

        There is only one serious problem with open boarders – it is incompatible with our entitlement based social safety net.

        So scrap that instead. It is a bad idea on so many levels anyway.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 17, 2015 11:53 am

        We can not escape from risk in life.
        Whatever we do involves risk.
        We can attempt to mitigate that risk but we can not end it.

        Accepting refugees from Syria increases the risk of a terrorist act.
        That is an argument to act to reduce that risk, not an argument to refuse syrian refugees.

        9/11 has been a cataclysmic moral disaster for the US.
        Osama Bin Laden won. We changed our values.

        I beleive our freedom is sufficiently important that we can not sacrifice it because every once in a while some group that hates us and our freedom manages to murder alot of us.

        I beleive that immigration is a positive good. That it makes our nation better. I beleive that even if it results in more deaths from terrorist acts. Even if it makes our social safety net unsustainable. Even if it drives wages in low skill jobs down.
        Even if it increases unemployment among white men.

        We have to get past the beleif that choices have only positive or negative effects – but not both.

        We have to be honest enough with ourselves to understand that the right choice will have some costs – even result in peoples death’s.

        the wrong choices also have costs, often the same costs, just better hidden.

    • November 17, 2015 2:12 pm

      Well, I’m not sure how placing a prudent pause on accepting refugees from Syria does anything but reduce the risk. Are you suggesting that a moratorium is somehow a refusal to act in a moral way? I can’t tell, but if that’s what you ‘re saying, I think that you’re not only wrong but foolishly naive.

      Listen, I know that , in the past, you have argued for an open borders policy. And there is a rational argument for that policy. But that is NOT what is going on with the Syrian refugee crisis ~ that is a genuine crisis that has been hijacked to be a Trojan Horse for ISIS. It is crazy for the US to be a willing dupe for that, and it has nothing to do with immigration.

      And coming back at me with the “everything is a risk” argument is a non-starter. Of course, everything is a risk. My point is that there are acceptable and unacceptable risks.

  60. Pat Riot permalink
    November 17, 2015 2:31 pm

    Dave, I don’t expect anyone will accuse you of being “PC” or squeamish! That’s part of what I DO like about your posts–you will make some bold statements, tough choices, and people may die! Seriously, one of my frustrations with many liberals is that they are so squeamish about death. They don’t want anyone or anything to die–not spotted owls, not sea turtles, not convicted murderers…(but unborn children are okay to dispose of because we can’t interfere with someone’s choice about their body…but that’s another topic…) disclaimer: I said “many liberals”–it’s a subset. I’m off the hook…

    The way you use the word “compromise” belies or suggests that you see compromise, or most compromise, as a weaker alternative. This is the same sort of misunderstanding of the word “moderate”. Often the process of seeking compromise leads to third, fourth, and fifth options, some of which are better than the original “irreconcilable” two extremes. I say most of our political turmoil and troubles are because we as human beings just don’t understand the viable alternatives yet, like 14th-century people having no clue about electricity or steam power and thinking that slaves are just a necessary part of civilization, as a crass example.

    Regarding the Syrian refugee situation, it seems mighty fishy to me that the “greatest military in the world,” with all of its stealth bombers and fighters, precision bombing and drones, conventional jets, tanks, navy destroyers, warehouses of bombs, elite fighters (Navy Seals, Delta Force, Army Rangers, and other Special Ops), the regular armored divisions that routed Sadaam’s Republic Guard in days, and with all our billionaires and millionaires…that we could not set up some safe haven somewhere East of the Atlantic ocean for refugees. No, we gotta bring them here to America?? It’s easier for me to suspect underhandedness than that level of ineptitude.

    • dhlii permalink
      November 17, 2015 11:42 pm

      There is actually a body of literature on the very subject you address.

      Prof. Haidt has studied political identity and moral foundations, and one of the characteristics that distinguishes libertarians from the left and right is a lack of squeemishness.
      A willingness to confront Taboo’s.

      There is a great deal of other work on that. Many of us – particularly (but not uniquely) the left transfer decisions close to taboo’s to government.

      Life involves difficult decisions – often life and death decisions. Because we confuse money with actual value rather than a placeholder for value, we get extremely uncomfortable as decisions approaching life and death involve money.

      But such decisions are unavoidable. We do not wish to decide to end Chemotherapy because we are unlikely to live, we are likely to be miserable, and it will cost a great deal of money. Who can chose to give up life over money ? Actually alot of us, if that money would go to our children or something else we valued more than a brief extension of life.

      So what do we do ? We transfer decisions about Taboo’s to government.

      HHS can decide what the value of a QALY is. But we can not decide for ourselves, and god forbid ford should make the mistake of writing down a cost benefit analysis it did involving human life.

      Libertarians want people to be able to make their own decisions about Taboo’s.

      Who should decide when keeping you alive costs too much – you or government ?

      There is a runaway streetcar coming down the hill. You are at a switch.
      If you do not act the streetcar will kill three young girls. If you throw the switch it will kill one fat old man.

      A libertarian will make a choice. A progressive will run away screaming and demand that all switches be placed under government control so they can never be presented with such a choice.

    • dhlii permalink
      November 18, 2015 12:01 am

      Our military is capable of obliterating ISIS in short order if we so desire and are willing to pay the cost in blood and treasure to do so.

      But that is easy compared to what you ask.

      Destroying our enemies is comparatively speaking relatively easy.
      Nation Building is impossible.

      Post 9/11 we had a right – even an obligation to destroy Al Queda – and the Taliban for acts of war against us.

      We had no right or obligation to replace the taliban. The government of afghanistan is the business of the afghans. It is irrelevant whether they do so well or badly, in our interests or not. It is only relevant that the Taliban had provided material assistance and protection to a group that commited an act of war against us.

      Militaries are not there to build nations or to provide safe havens. It is not their task. It is outside their abilities.

      A military is designed to destroy enemies, quickly, utterly and ruthlessly.
      What they are best suited to makes them unsuitable for much else.

      Nor would we need this massive military that costs more than the next ten countries in the world put together, if their purpose and use was limited to military objectives.

    • dhlii permalink
      November 18, 2015 12:13 am

      What nation are you expecting to voluntarily surrender sovereignty somewhere east of the Atlantic to warehouse these refugees ? Or do you plan to do so involuntarily ?

      The recent terrorist attacks in Paris constitute an act of war. ISIS has made a serious strategic mistake by structuring itself as a state. In doing so they have made themselves into something that other nations can easily and morally destroy.

      If you want to make a safe place for syrian refugees. Destroy ISIS and send the refugees home.

      I am not a big proponent of military action. I am not saying we should put troops on the ground and destroy ISIS, only that post Paris we have the moral right to do so.
      We do not have to act militarily everytime we can morally do so.

      But we have to let go of the nonsense that we have some obligation or even ability to do much beyond destroying ISIS. We removed the Taliban from power – we should have destroyed them – and having done so, left.

      Sounds simple, but it is not. It almost certainly will leave a mess behind and others will try ot exploit it.

      But it is not our job, or within our ability to provide other people with good government.
      Only to destroy the government of nations that attack other nations.

    • November 18, 2015 10:51 am

      “that we could not set up some safe haven somewhere East of the Atlantic ocean for refugees.”

      Where? How? A logistic and financial nightmare.

      My solution (facetious? Maybe not) is to work out deals with the American Indian Nations to split them up and house them on the reservations. We’re going to have to spend hundreds of millions of dollars in welfare/benefit money to transition them linguistically and culturally to America – lets filter most of that money to the ‘dispossed’ Native Americans the PC Left demands restitution for swiping their land – and the culture clash of Islam and the ceremonial spiritually of Indian Christainity would be interesting to see.

      Oh OK, I’m watching too many reruns of Longmire with its emphasis of transcultural plot interaction – but if we’re bringing in thousands of Islamic Sirians, it would be better to keep them from congregating in urban areas already filled with mosques disseminating conservative Islamic thought.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 18, 2015 6:56 pm

        You think we are going to spend 100’s of millions to accept 10,000 refugees ?

        Clearly you have vast experience with Refugees.

        I was the sponsor for the immigration of a muslim burmese immigrant family.
        They received a very small allowance from the US government – I think it was about 2000 total and it was primarily in the form of medicaide. They had to find a job, find a house and be self sufficient in a short period. Prior to that most of their support came from the church not the government. They had to attend ESL classes – that were again provided by the local community, not the government. Within 6 months they were fully self sufficient, working hard at a higher than MW job, and sufficiently proficient in english for their workplace. And they were typical of the dozens of muslim burmese families that immigrated to my area over the past several years.

      • November 19, 2015 12:53 pm

        Come on, Dave, get the cobwebs out of your brain.

        First, do you have 10,000 sponsors for this first batch?

        Second, do you or do you not understand the difference in scale between one Burmese Muslim family, and 185,000 Muslims from Syria? The 10,000 number is only for the first batch. The Obama administration is projecting huge numbers in the following two years:

        Secretary of State John Kerry has said the U.S. is set to boost the number of total refugees accepted in 2016 from 70,000 to 85,000. In 2017, another 100,000 will be accepted under Kerry’s plan.

        Do you have 185,000 ‘sponsors’ lined up to accommodate them? To get them housing and jobs and English language tutoring?

        Third, where’d you come up with your nonsensical estimate of what it will cost to vet them, and bring them here to the US, and support them in adjusting to American life and customs?

        Here’s other estimates from people with more authentic knowledge then you:

        “Last week, Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) unveiled a supplemental spending bill designed to assist Syrian refugees. The bill doesn’t say how many refugees should be allowed into the U.S., but Leahy’s office estimates the measure could help 100,000 migrants over the next two years, at a cost of $1 billion

        http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/2015/10/15/Should-US-Spend-1-Billion-Help-Syrian-Refugees

        And that’s for only 100,000 refugees, so add another .85 billion to it.

        But wait – it doesn’t include extra billions in estimates for those who won’t be able to support themselves, in future years housing, welfare and food stamp assistance. Or health care costs. Or the costs of schooling their children.

        The British too have offered preliminary estimates of what it will cost their taxpayers: “up to £23420 in the first year of their relocation to the UK.” That’s would equate to about 310 million dollars for ten thousand refugees, for only the first year.

        That’s a substantial amount of money. And what do we, the American Public, get in return? Higher unemployment, higher welfare and public assistance costs, and more anti-American, anti-Christian, anti-Jewish, and anti-Non-Believer Islamic enclaves like Dearborn Michigan?

        I feel sorry for the plight of the mostly Muslim Syrians. But why are so many Muslim nations refusing to take them in? And the few Muslim nations that accepted them mistreating them, and now reconsidering taking in more. That was the same story for the Burmese Muslims persecuted in Myanmar: Muslim nations turning their backs on people of their own religion.

        The US can take in some of the Syrians, but 5,000 to 10,000 max. The last thing we need here now is another disgruntled minority to foist their belief-based demands on us.

      • November 19, 2015 1:23 pm

        Agreed, Jay. The other thing that perplexes me is this ~ my understanding of political asylum is that it is provided for the victims of persecution, not for those seeking to escape war.

        Also, according to the UN, the majority of refugees up to this point have been 62% men http://data.unhcr.org/mediterranean/regional.php and according to this same report, only half of them are from Syria (19% from Afghanistan). What the hell is going on here? If the US were to have another civil war, would other nations accept American men of fighting age fleeing from war? (Canada during the Vietnam war did allow American men enter as immigrants without requiring proof of their military status, but it was not asylum, nor did the draft dodgers who fled there pose any threat to Canada’s national security).

        And why are Afghan men being accepted as refugees? There is an awful lot to question here.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 19, 2015 5:09 pm

        I am not arguing the nuances of political asylum.

        I do not greatly care what they are leaving, only that they want to come here.
        I do not care much if they are coming from afghanistan – which is slowly coming apart too.
        Is fleeing the re-emerging Taliban more problimatic than fleeing Asad or ISIS ?

        Acording to factcheck,org which someone here seems to think is biblically accurate,
        less than 21% of these refugees are males from 18-59.
        The numbers with high male percent are for those crossing the Mediterranean on their own
        that means of entry dictates that the majority will be male – though they are not primarily syrian, they are coming from all over the near east.

      • November 19, 2015 1:26 pm

        *Granted, the UN chart I linked contains info on the European refugee situation, but I think it’s relevant in assessing our own.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 19, 2015 5:11 pm

        I am pretty sure it is also for Med Crossers, which is a much larger set.
        We are seeing a flood from all over the mideast. There are lots of places that are not so hot to live.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 19, 2015 4:42 pm

        Yes, I understand the difference – The Burmese were even further separated from the real world having spent atleast 10 years in camps in the jungles in Thailand before arriving here.

        The syrians are far more likely to be able to manage on their own.

        I would be very surprised if we could not easily find 185,000 sponsors.
        Regardless, if they are actually necescary, that is not a reason for not moving forward.

        41M people in the US today are first generation immigrants. 80M are first and 2nd generation immigrants.

        And these numbers are dwarfed by those we absorbed during the late 19th early 20th century.

        That increases by atleast 1/2M/year many years the numbers from south of the border are 1M alone.

        Whether 10,000 or 185,000 these numbers are miniscule.

        I think this vetting issue is a straw man. There is no need to thoroughly vet the vast majority of immigrants. Do we desparately need through vetting of old men, children, most women ?

        This fails like the vast majority of objections, which presume that the worst case scenario is the norm.

        As to costs. I am still libertarian. I have no problem with these people coming. I have no problem with government paying little or nothing to facilitate that.

        I would flush nearly our entire social safety net down the drain. No Minimum wage, no welfare, none of the rest of this garbage. Let whoever wants come here, and expect both them and those already here to take care of themselves.

        If you wish to engage in charity – that is fine, I will join you. But you do not steal from others to pretend to be generous yourself.

        I have no idea how the Brits operate, but I do know how the Burmese program worked, and the total government “aide” was less than 2500/person and had to be fully repaid.

        This is not about “feeling sorry” for anyone. Nor about other muslim nations.
        There is actually a body of demographic research that demonstrates that people are the ultimate resource and that immigrants are net beneficial to the nations that immigrate to.

        The US can accomidate 10’s of millions of immigrants and be better for it. If other nations are too stupid to do so – the better for us.

        I have other ulterior motives. The greater the diversity of the population the more statism fails.

        Our laws our government needs to be designed arround the least common denominator.
        Socialism fails less in the nordic countries – because 98% of the people are from the same genetic haplotype groups. It is extrmely likely that even at very fine grain they share nearly the same values. The peoples in a diverse society do not. Law must be coarser and err on the side of freedom, and greater freedom results in greater prosperity for all.

      • November 19, 2015 6:11 pm

        “I would flush nearly our entire social safety net down the drain. No Minimum wage, no welfare, none of the rest of this garbage. Let whoever wants come here, and expect both them and those already here to take care of themselves”

        Do you have any idea how disastrous that would be to the millions of vulnurable Americans already here? How long do you think it would be before we have a full scale home grown terrorist movement of disgruntled minority fighters with nothing to lose?

      • dhlii permalink
        November 20, 2015 11:10 am

        How disruptive will it be when we hit the wall ?

        We are running 200B/year short on medicare.
        We are going to run 200B/year short on SS very shortly.
        That is not going to correct for many decades.
        We are overall running 3/4T short every year.

        Our debt as a percent of GDP has hit 100%. That is a major factor in why our economy is sluggish.
        http://www.nber.org/papers/w15639

        It is not headed down any time soon.

        We are in an unsustainable situation, and we are doing nothing to address it which greatly increases the odds of a catastrophic disaster sometime in the future.

        It will take far longer for the US to reach Greece.

        There was a “joke’ back in the 90’s. If you owe a bank a million dollars they have you by the balls. If you owe them a billion dollars, you have them by the balls.
        The world is going to be hard pressed to say no to the US.
        Tanking the US economy takes out the world.
        But at some point impossible, is imposible.

        We ponder the Fed’s way too low interest rates.
        Well raising them would increase US debt service costs.
        A mere return to the rates of the 90’s would cost us atleast 100B more/year for nothing.

        We are already in a very serious fiscal trap. a Chinese finger trap. The more we struggle to free ourselves, the more trapped we are.

        Disruptive change is coming one way or another.
        The only question is when and how.

        And BTW, the USSR and former soviet satellites went through exactly that kind of disruption – without carnage in the streets.

      • November 19, 2015 8:36 pm

        I’m not sure what Med Crossers are, Dave, but I’m guessing that that refers to immigrants crossing the Meditteranean? So, ok, the Afghan thing makes more sense. if that is the case.

        But, I still have a fundamental difference of opinion with you on immigration in general, and on asylum for Syrian refugees in particular. Speaking about America, specifically, do you believe that we have a moral obligation, or should “for our own good” accept anyone who comes here for any reason?

        I genuinely do not get the logic (perhaps logic is not part of it) of the libertarian argument for open borders. For one thing, it seems like putting the cart before the horse; if you want to get rid of the social welfare state, why on earth accept thousands of people who are not capable of earning a living? If you want to reduce the police power of the state, why bring in potential criminals and or non-assimilators, who will create a demand for more muscular law enforcement? And if jihad seeks to destroy our culture and enslave or kill us, why give them a leg up?

      • dhlii permalink
        November 19, 2015 9:49 pm

        I did not create the terms or chose how the statistics were reported.

        There has been a recent explosion of immigration from Syria directly attributable to the war.
        However immigration throughout the entire mideast is very high – whether driven by events in Libya or Egypt or Yemen or Afghanistan. The mideast is an increasingly unsafe place to live.
        It is particularly unsafe if you are not an extremist muslim.
        In my lifetime there used to be several million jews in the mideast outside of Israel, Now there numbers are in the thousands. They have all been killed or left.
        More recently it is christians – particularly smaller christian groups such as coptics.
        But even more moderate muslims are finding it prudent to move elsewhere in the world.

        Many of these are immigrating to europe – often illegally, and those are taking ships and boats across the Mediterranean – hence the med crossers label.
        Med Crossers are more likely to be male do to the difficulty of crossing. After they arrive and prosper they find other ways to bring their families.

        Finally – with respect to this debate does it matter much ?

        Should we take in those fleeing ISIS or Asad in syria but not those fleeing a resurgent Taliban in afghanistan ? What of those fleeing the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt ?
        Or mideast christians fleeing persecution wherever they are ?

        My rational merely requires them to want to come here and to be able to do so without our government being either a help or hinderance.

        But if you wish to justify their immigration on humanitarian grounds – there are alot of people in the nmideast fleeing violence and tyrany.

      • November 19, 2015 10:06 pm

        “My rational merely requires them to want to come here and to be able to do so without our government being either a help or hinderance.”

        With respect, Dave, that is no rationale at all. You’re really starting to sound like an anarchist.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 20, 2015 9:09 am

        It is a perfectly reasonable position. It is essentially the law of nature and the social contract.

        We are free to do whatever we wish so long as, we do not initiate violence against others, and whatever we do we accomplish on our own or with the voluntary cooperation of others.

        My expectations of Syrian immigrants are no different than of anyone else.

        Nor is that anarchism. It is merely limited government.

        I would note that prior to the 20th century, most of what I would bar government from doing, no government did. Not even monarchies.

        What is it that you think our government owes to Syrians ? even to our own citizens ?

        What is it that a government MUST do ?

        Remembering that whatever obligations you create for government, must be accomplishable, and will be accomplished through force.

        My answer would be:
        Government must punish those who initiate violence against others (criminal law, national defence).
        It must enforce agreements (most civil and contracts law).
        It must arbitrate claims of harms done by others and compel those who have done harm to make whole those they have harmed (torts).

        That is alot. All of those require government to be able to excercise force.

        I can not think of anything beyond that we can not accomplish on our own individually or through voluntary cooperation.

        The most structured forms of anarchism require everything to be accomplished through voluntary cooperation.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 19, 2015 10:15 pm

        All libertarians are not for open boarders.

        Libertarians are not inherently homogenous on everything.

        The big tent definition of libertarian is fiscally conservative socially liberal.

        But many libertarians favor open borders.

        For much of US history this country had open borders, and that corresponded to our highest rates of growth.

        There is a cart before the horse – but it is not mine, it is the entire rationale for the welfare state and social safety net.

        People have found a way to support themselve since the first humans.
        Nature requires that of us as the price of survival. Contrary to left wing nuts, it is not possible to assure survival of everyone on any basis but individually.

        Government can guarantee that the poorest 20% need not act to ensure their own survival – but only by forcing the rest of us to support them – with the inherent danger that we too will decide being supported is easier than supporting others.

        Put simply you can not have all takers. The welfare state is only unstably sustainable so long as a large enough portion of people can and want to manage better on their own than on government support. One of the major problems the US faces is that we are approaching the point at which the balance tips. Social Security and medicare are insolvent and will not return to solvency for several generations. Either we must reduce the scale of the safety net, or we must increase the burden on those who voluntarily work – and we know that doing so, slows growth and increases the number who no longer chose to produce.

        Open Borders is not the prime libertarian argument against the welfare state.
        But open borders are a natural rights issue and incompatible with the welfare state.

        I am not worried about the survival of those coming here – Nearly all will figure out how to survive and thrive as many many generations before them have. Though things are tougher for them as government places more impediments in their way.

        Though I think they will manage fine regardless, if you are worried drop the minimum wage laws. There are plenty of jobs we have exported to low wage countries that would rapidly return if there was a cheap unskilled labor pool available in the US.
        And we forget that an unskilled syrian in the US is actually more productive and valuable than one in syria – hopefully I do not have to explain that.

        Regardless, does it matter whether your cloths of plastic cups or all the things you buy from WalMart are made by Bangeledeschi’s half a world away or immigrants in the US ?
        In the later instance though the US median standard of living would decline – add several million people at the bottom and you reduce the media without lowering the standard of living of anyone here – something everyone should think about when comparing the US and EU – there are 41M first cgeneration immigrants in the US many illegal, and 80M first and 2nd generation immigrants. that is almost 1/4 of our population – yet still our median standard of living is 25-35% higher than europe. There are 500M+ europeans and 330M americans and our GDP is nearly the same. We produce the same value with less labor, that by definition means a higher standard of living.

        Nor is this zero sum. Immigrants in the US would produce new goods of the type that are net positive with a low cost unskilled labor force, but it is not likely that those jobs and goods would actually be at the expense of China or Bengeledesch.

        Low skill jobs do not leave the US because the chinese take them. They leave because the value of what is produced is to low to be performed by the labor force we have at its cost.

        Contrary to left wingnuts, given that wages are free to float as other prices, labor utilization will stabalize at a very low unemployment rate. But the value produced will constantly rise,
        and wages will rise as skills productivity and value produced increase.
        That is called the law of supply and demand.

      • November 19, 2015 10:23 pm

        “There is a cart before the horse – but it is not mine, it is the entire rationale for the welfare state and social safety net.”

        There is some truth to that, but there is also something called REALITY. When I say that the open borders argument puts the cart before the horse, I’m talking about the world as it is, not some theoretical world that doesn’t exist.

      • Ron P permalink
        November 20, 2015 12:39 am

        Priscilla there are many Libertarians like myself that believe that open borders is not the answer to our immigration problems, either Syrian or Latino. There are those that also believe that we can not ship 12 million illegals back to Mexico by employing jack booted thugs to round them up like Donald Trump has proposed.

        Many Libertarian know where the problems with our immigration system exist today. It is with the outdated laws on the books that need to be updated to address immigration for the needs of the people and the country as it exist today. Libertarians first believe the constitution is the basis for all laws, unlike our president and some SCOTUS judges. To make immigration work today, we need new laws following the constitution on what can and can not be done in updating that legislation. Then it needs to be enforced. The constitution does not guarantee anyone that is not a citizen the right to immigrate to the US. It only provides rights for those individuals once they are here.

      • November 20, 2015 9:33 am

        Ron, I am in total agreement with you and Dave on the issue of outdated and unnecessary (even harmful) laws. And not only because they don’t address the needs of the country as it exists today, but because, by not enforcing some laws and enforcing others, the government essentially degrades the rule of law entirely. Sanctuary cities, which I would guess that Dave supports, exist in blatant violation of federal immigration law, for example. We should have many, many fewer laws, but, if we are going to be a law-abiding nation, existing laws need to be enforced.

        My point in making the “muscular enforcement” comment was very specific in terms of Dave’s open borders defense. I understand the libertarian concept of open borders (and I understand that not all libertarians subscribe), but, in real life, entitlement and safety net programs are not going to be eliminated overnight, if at all. Public safety is still going to be a priority and we know that one of the key issues in immigration today is the refusal of certain groups to assimilate to our culture. We also know that illegal immigration has produced a wave of crime, including human trafficking and drugs; I think that I have read that, in the border states, 30% of murders are committed by illegal immigrants. We may have a lot of stupid laws, but laws prohibiting murder are not stupid.

        What I am saying is that, in the real world,open borders would produce long term chaos and unrest, and what we need to do is to address our domestic issues before we would open wide the gates and let everyone in. Even then, if we want to remain sovereign, there would need to be some controls on immigration.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 20, 2015 1:43 pm

        You would have to define what “supports sanctuary cities” means.

        I have zero problems with groups and individuals engaged in civil disobedience.
        I think that challenging bad laws is often critical to their destruction.
        MLK and Ghandi proved that.

        I would also note that effective civil disobediance reqiuires government to impose its will on you by force. It is when government starts to look like thugs beating and killing people over petty laws that those laws come down.

        I have no problem with churches and individuals offering people sanctuary – with the understanding that they might be subject to the wrath of government.
        Civil disobediance means committing a crime.

        I have major problems with government or government officials doing the same.

        The woman in KY who did not wish to sign marraige certificates for gays was within her rights as an individual. But if she could not follow the law she should have resigned and protested.

        So no I do not support sanctuary cities – even if I might support sanctuary.

        I recall a dystopia from many years ago where the central character – essentially the leader of the resistance, took on a role in govenrment and became one of the most vigorous enforcers of the draconian and reprehensible laws.

        I do not beleive there should be much discretion in law enforcement.
        All laws should be vigorously enforced. If all laws are vigorously enforced we will sort the good from the bad fairly quickly.

        Further discretion allows a much greater accretion of laws.
        Laws are supposed to have cost – enforcing them is not free.
        When we do not enforce laws, we reduce their cost, they now become tools of individual oppression through selective enforcement.

        Vigorous enforcement is itself a check and balance. The cost to enforce a law is supposed to be a factor in limiting the volume of our laws. Discretion allows us to have the law without having bearing its cost. That is bad.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 20, 2015 1:45 pm

        What does “sovereign” mean in your context ?

        For most of human history govenrments controlled the teritory within their borders, but had very little to do with comings and goings.

        Of course people moved arround very little. But it was not typically barred.

      • November 20, 2015 2:08 pm

        “Of course people moved arround very little.”

        That’s the point – when the main means of moving was walking, you didn’t have an interloper problem.

        But when large numbers of people tried to enter a foreign country — that’s called an invasion — guess what, wars followed.

        And open borders worked real well for the indigenous Indian tribes of the Americas.. right.

        Open borders — an idea too goofy for words to express.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 20, 2015 3:07 pm

        The limit to people moving arround in the past was not walking.

        It was their dependence on their home for support.

        There was not a tavern or burger king arround the corner,
        and random stranger did not just share food with you.

        Serious travels had to take much of what they needed with them.

        Specific trade routes might have places to eat,
        still absent experience and prior knowledge there was no way to know at the end of the day whether there would be food or if you could afford it.
        And if the distances increased – whether the people you sought food from would understand you.

        Large groups of armed men was an invasion.

        Regardless, not only didn’t ordinary people move arround alot but neither did the aparatus of government.

        It could take weeks to find out you were being “invaded”
        And if the “invaders” were not armed men, they could have come and gone.

        Borders were far more fluid as was your concept of sovereignity.

        North american tribes managed fairly well with their scheme of soveregnity for about 9000 years before white europeans came along.

        Nor was “open boarders” the key to the obliteration of indians.

        Some estimates have the population of North America at about 40M before the arrival of columbus. but down to a few million by Jamestown.
        The likely culprit for mass extermination was european diseases.

        But even in the colonial period, the obliteration of indians came from a variety of sources – entirely different concepts of property rights, deliberate armed efforts to obliterate them.

        Not from immigration through open boarders.

        Closed borders are a relatively modern concept – late 19th early 20th century.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 20, 2015 1:46 pm

        Why do you presume there would be chaos.

        Inside the US we move arround between states at whim without societal collapse.

      • November 20, 2015 2:02 pm

        Agreed!

      • dhlii permalink
        November 20, 2015 1:00 pm

        Ron;

        While I like the constitution, it primarly documents the structure of our government not its ideology. With few exceptions the constitution does NOT establish principles – though it does sometimes reflect them.

        With respect to immigration the constitution is mostly silent.
        Though it does establish the US as one of the few places in the world with birthright citizenship.

        The current “constitutional” issues regarding immigration are separation of powers and delegation questions, not ones of principle.

        In immigration as elsewhere Pres. Obama has been a pretty dramatic manifestation of a nixonian “imperial president”

        Most questions about immigration are NOT constitutional.
        The only constitutional questions are who sets our immigration policy.
        As is typical of this administration it has claimed that when congress does nto act, it is free to do so unilaterally. That claim is constitutional mush. Among other things if a power belongs to congress not acting is ACTING. That is the way our government was designed.
        Progressives have been railing about that atleast since Wilson.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 20, 2015 1:06 pm

        The constitution recognizes rights, it does not create them.

        Read the Declaration of Independence for a philosophy of government.

        Rights are inalienable. They come from nature, not government.
        The constitution itself recognizes as much – see the ninth and 10th amendments.

        The constitution as an example does not delegate to the government power over immigration – only over naturalization.

        Taken as written, it reflects my views – anyone can come or go. But government gets to control who can be a citizen.

      • November 20, 2015 2:29 pm

        “Rights are inalienable. They come from nature, not government.”

        If our rights come from nature, then, as a species as territorial as wolves, we have a natural right to protect our territorial borders. This we have done throughout our evolutionary history, from our cave dwellings, to protecting our tribal nomadic routes and trails and camping area. Therefore it would follow we have an inalienable right to protect our cultural and nationalistic territorial boundaries as well.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 20, 2015 3:14 pm

        Everything that is natural is not a right.
        Generally rights are negative and a subset of freedoms.

        i.e. you do not actually have the right to X,
        you have the right to NOT have your freedom to X infringed.

        If a right imposes a positive duty on others it is unsustainable.

        All animals are not territorial.

        You are also conflating property with national sovereignity.

        Nations do not have rights – rights belong to individuals.
        Nations have powers and priviledges.
        Nations do not come from nature, they are entirely human constructs.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 20, 2015 9:33 am

        It is the world that has existed for 99.999% of human existance.

        The reality of the moment is just that – momentary. The conception that government should guarantee or provide anything beyond the security of our natural rights is little more than a century old and is unsustainable.

        Nature owes us nothing.

        Again any promise government makes, it must deliver through the use of force.

        I can accept the use of force by government as the price to punish those who initiate violence against us.

        When government guarantees someone a wage, a job, an income, healthcare. That is a commitment to use force against others to deliver on that promise.

        That is reality.

        Again look at the real world today.

        Eric Garner was killed by government for violating a law prohibiting the sale of loose cigarettes. That is reality. That is the government we have today.
        Is that the government you want ?

        Is whatever societal benefit comes from prohibiting the sale of loose cigarettes or compelling people to fix their taillights sufficient to justify the use of force that will on occaision result in violent conflict, incarceration, even death ?

        Yes, our current reality differs from what is morally justifiable.
        There was a current reality to Nazi Germany or the Gulag’s, does the fact that something is different that in ought to be mean we are prohibited from trying to change it ?

        I am not asking to change society all at once – though I am not sure that sudden short disruptive change is not preferable to the alternatives.
        Our current economic malaise is the consequences of the assorted efforts we made to mitigate the effects of the “great recession”.

        Given the chance to do it over, would you accept unemployment going 2% or 5% higher, if by late 2009 growth was 7% and current growth was 4% ?

        All the things that government does for us must be paid for.
        The economic return for those critical tasks that I assigned to government above is enormous. A functional and successful world where violence is unpunished, and the only binding power of an agreement is the likelyhood of the other party punishing breach wih violence, is unlikely.

        At the opposite extreme we know that where government controls everything – such as the USSR that improvement in standard of living is slow to non-existant.

        Again this all follows that airfoil curve – it is called the Rahn curve.
        It is really a tautology. The only relevant question is where is the optimum.
        At what point does more government switch from improving standard of living to decreasing it.

        Real world data says that point is somewhere below government of 20% of GDP.
        That is a bit less than 1/2 the scale of the US government.

        I think it is closer to the 5-8% of GDP that government consumed in the 19th century.

        But we can decide whether we wish to get even smaller still, once we have pared back tot he 20% that we KNOW is better than what we have now.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 19, 2015 10:27 pm

        We do not need more muscular law enforcement – just less stupid laws.

        While I have little sympathy for BLM or these Mizzou and Yale protestors,

        look at many of the recent high profile killings of black men by police.

        Over what ? Selling lose cigarettes ? Busted tail lights. Missed child support. Knife blades that might be a few millimeters to long.

        Why are we killing people over these things ?

        “If we desire respect for the law, we must first make the law respectable.”
        Justice Brandeis

        The price we pay for too much law is “muscular law enforcement” and most of that is targeted at the least well off. Warren Buffet is not getting into a confrontation with law enforcement over the sale of lose cigarettes. But Eric Garner died over it.

        Anytime you pass a law you should consider that ultimately someone will die over it.

        Yes, I want to reduce the police power in the state.

        And infact more immigrants will likely do that. Even following the argument that it will bring in more dangerous jihadis.

        Fine government will fixate on that. Ultimately there are limits to the scale of government we can support. We must pay for that government and we may be the ones at the barrel end of the gun.

        If we direct more government resources to criminal law enforcement, we will have less for enforcing stupid laws.

        Not only should you consider that for every law you pass you may have to kill someone,
        but that for every law you pass you bring us closer to the point where we either say:
        We will not pay for this, or
        We will not endure this, or
        Both.

        Law enforcement – even those police enforcing laws we all support are locusts living off the rest of us. They are only net positive if what they consume is less than the additional growth we get because they reduce violence. But the farther we are over that threshold, the more they are parasites rather than symbiants.

      • November 19, 2015 11:09 pm

        You’re right about the stupid laws. But, again, allowing indiscriminate immigration will likely create many public safety issues. Heck, not “likely” – “certainly.”

        My understanding of your comments is that anyone, from anywhere, should be able to come here with no interference from the government. How is that even possible, without total chaos?

        Maybe I’m not understanding you, but your thinking on this seems quite detached from any sort of real world solution. It’s nice to say that in libertopia, people would be free to do whatever they want, but in realville, there are a lot of not so nice people. And I guess you could say that, well, “survival of the fittest,” but are you willing to give up our social constructs in return for unfettered freedom?

      • dhlii permalink
        November 20, 2015 9:51 am

        This country had “indiscriminate immigration” for most of its existance.
        It was not much of a public safety problem.

        One of the worst public safety problems in our history – and still with us now, the rise of organized crime, was created by “stupid laws” – prohibition.

        Within the US people move about all the time. I can go from Boston to washington.
        I can do so temporarily or permanently as I wish.
        So long as I violate no laws and more recently avoid air travel, I can do so without ever having to present ID, or papers and without permission from anyone.

        Maybe that is chaos, but it seems to work fairly well.

        Government “interferes” when my actions create “probable cause” of a crime.
        Absent that I am free to act without interferance.

        regardless, I am not opposed to some reasonable border checks – quarantining the sick, requiring that people demonstrate that they are who they say they are and if they are fleeing criminal prosecution that they are returned.

        The issue I am raising is that human rights do not cease at national borders.
        We protect (or maybe not as recent events seem to demonstrate), the right of people to speak as they wish. That right does not end at our borders, but the responsibility of our government to protect it does.
        We protect the right to move freely within our nation.
        That right does not end at our borders either.
        We are not responsible to get immigrants here, even if it is their right to come, if they wish.
        We are not responsible to overcome the barriers that others create barring that.
        But once they arrive at our door, we must let them in. With few exceptions human rights are not limited to citizens.

        At the same time having arrived, we are not obligated to secure anything but their rights.
        They have a right to free speech, to free association, to free exchange.
        They do not have a right to food, shelter, healthcare. Those are not rights.

        Government secures our actual rights because those are the tools we use to get all those other things – for ourselves.

      • November 20, 2015 9:59 am

        So, just to be clear – your position is that we should allow anyone into the country, as long as they are not carrying a communicable disease, fleeing arrest in another country or pretending to be someone else? And that there should be no limits on numbers of immigrants, no impediment to their ability to access government services (I know that you are opposed to government services, but to my point, those services will continue to exist) and no requirement that they follow our laws?

      • dhlii permalink
        November 20, 2015 1:53 pm

        Just to be clear.
        Freedom of movement is a human right.
        I am prepared to tolerate some limited impositions on that right in some instances.
        Much like other rights.
        While I have offered some possibilities.
        I would use “strict scrutiny” for impositions on rights.
        There must be a compelling interest advanced by the law/restriction AND
        the law must be narrowly tailored.

        It there is a less restricting way of accomplishing the purpose, then the lest restrictive method must be chosen.
        If the purpose behind the restriction is not compelling, then the restriction bites the dust.

        There is a claim here that indiscriminate immigration of syrians poses a grave danger.

        There is probably a compelling purpose hiding in their somewhere.
        Now figure out the least restrictive possible means of serving th compelling purpose WITHOUT abridging the right and merely lightly burdening it.

      • November 20, 2015 12:53 am

        Dave…WOO HOO!!! I have to agree with you on this post. Just this week the city next to mine has issued new operating policies for the police department. Guess what was one of the items that was specifically identified as a major problem in the relationship with the white cops and black citizens, Busted tail lights!!! No longer will they enforce mechanical issues and leave that to the annual auto inspection required to get your license tag. So I agree with you that the majority of our problems can be traced back to idiotic laws that give over jealous police a reason to insight anger with the black community.

        One can also look to the drug arrest that concern marijuana. Kind of like the alcohol laws where in one state or country you could have it, while in another you got arrested for possession. And in both of these cases, people have died over a stupid law.

        As for your “We will not endure this”, one only has to look at gay rights, abortion and a host of other social laws where ones personal beliefs are being imposed on others who “will not endure this” law.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 20, 2015 1:24 pm

        There is a reason why these petty laws feature.

        In the US the police have very limited ability to inquire into the lives of ordinary citizens.
        We have no requirement for “papers”.
        “law enforcement” can only engage ordinary citizens with sufficient justification.
        They can investigate when there is evidence of a crime.

        Many of these petty laws provide police the opportunity to engage ordinary citizens, with the hope that the inquiry might lead to information regarding more serious crimes.

        If you actually explore the constitutional history of many of these petty traffic laws, the courts have openly recognized that they are a pretext to allow the police to look for other offenses.
        This is often done openly. The state police in my state as an example have units that camp on the interstate looking for minor traffic violations in order to find drug couriers.

        This is very effective.

        I am not an advocate for these petty laws, just noting that whether you like that purpose or not, they are there for purposes beyond getting tail lights fixed or harrasing blacks.

        Though again, We have petty laws regarding tail lights, so that we can enforce other stupid laws like drug laws.

        As Ron Paul noted – if all drugs were legal tomorow, home many of us would go out and inject heroin ?

      • dhlii permalink
        November 20, 2015 1:30 pm

        With respect to “enduring this”.

        I am not claiming that law X is endurable, while Y is not.

        Many many petty laws built to the american revolution.
        But eventually our threshold for endurance was crossed.

        Where each of us reach the “I am mad as hell and I am not going to take this any more” moment is individual.

        There is again empricle work on this.

        Generally a law that as little as 11% of the population will vigorously oppose is unsustainable.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 19, 2015 10:29 pm

        There are 3M muslims in the US already.
        Has that totally destroyed our culture ?

        Are 10,000 or 100,000 or 1M more going to put us over some cultural tipping point ?

        You think that our world our culture our spirit is far more fragile than it is.

      • November 19, 2015 11:45 pm

        Why do you assume that I was talking about Muslims?? As a matter of fact, I wasn’t. My point was that there are bad people in the world ~ sort of a basic fact, right? And in a civilized society, there has to be a way to keep the bad people from messing up what the good people have, right?

        But, as long as you brought up Muslims, do you think that there is a cultural tipping point that could be reached, if, say, we ended up with large swaths of the country turned into “no-go” sharia zones, as there have been in Paris and its suburbs for many years?

        You always have an optimistic view of where we’re headed, Dave, and I do appreciate that. I don’t agree, but it’s nice to think that you could be right.

  61. Pat Riot permalink
    November 17, 2015 2:35 pm

    Trojan horse it is! Everyone who knows me knows me as a loving guy. Nonetheless, Trojan horse it is, same with other lax and ridiculous policies!

  62. Roby permalink
    November 19, 2015 2:29 pm

    “Last night the light came on. I have fallen for the DemRep trap set up by the political parties.”

    “So the next time something like this occurs, I hope I can remember to not fall for the political parties DemRep trap and wait to comment after I have looked behind the facade of political rhetoric to determine the real issue that has been proposed. In this issue the two political parties have united to find a emotional issue that will motivate a few thousand individuals to vote that normally do not vote. There only desired outcome is control and has nothing to do with what is best for the country. It is what is best for their party, what is best for their reelection and what is best for their donors. We, the people, are way down their *&^% list of important items.”

    Its maybe a bit too cynical, but in general, you have done it again. I need a hats off smiley to use on your posts.

    • November 19, 2015 5:29 pm

      Roby, it could be cynical, but then there are many things that can make one cynical with our government today.

      But one thing I can tell you that I know myself to be cynical. ISIS (ISIL) has been reported as saying numerous times they are coming to America to kill the infidel. Just a couple days ago one of their leaders stated “They are going like refugees,” he explained. “Others just go to Europe to be ready.” Meaning they are there to kill innocent people.

      Then our president states “ISIL leaders will have no safe haven anywhere,” and he goes on to comment at other times about the refugees he wants to come here and the fact we will still be safe after that happens.

      So my being cynical is due to the fact that I believe ISIS before I believe our President.

      • Roby permalink
        November 19, 2015 5:50 pm

        Ron, I don’t know how much fighting you have done, hopefully little or none, but in my long lost youth, I did some. Before every fight both opponents talked about how much damage they were going to do. Its psychology, try to scare the opposition, and psych yourself up. Our President and ISIS leader are just using ordinary and pompous sounding psychology. I don’t see that the West has done enough fast enough against ISIS, but regarding the US position, how did you like the consequences of invading Afghanistan? How do the costs in blood and money sit with you? I’ll bet they don’t sit well.

        Giving Obama the benefit of the doubt, he is trying to avoid another Afghanistan with all of its costs in Syria. Now that we are on the other side of Afghanistan most Americans probably wish the we had looked before we leaped and did things very differently. That is what we would say if we jumped into Syria and becomes another Afghanistan. Yeah, we have lots of strong reasons to want to punish ISIS as we did Al Queda. Doesn’t mean we can’t think about it first. The west is engaged and we are killing lots of ISIS as it is, but they are trying to metastasize, that is something to take seriously.

        I think we should have boots on the ground as part of a coallition and go in and wipe them out. But I am not a general and I do not know the real difficulties of invading ISIS territory.

        I think that ISIS most likely brought about their own demise in Paris. I think that there will be American boots on the ground. What there will be in that territory after the West and perhaps Russia have invaded, well, perhaps it will be like east and west Germany all over.

        No easy choices.

      • November 19, 2015 6:18 pm

        Roby, I have done no fighting at all. When the time came, I joined the navy to avoid Viet Nam. I felt my chances of sitting on a ship off the coast of Nam was much less than having feet on the ground. Luckily I did neither. So call me Chicken, but I served my time while avoiding a war I did not believe in. Had I been placed on a gun boat on the Mekong river, i would have served.

        I also supported the first gulf war. We went in with guns blazing, blew the hell out of Iraq and sent them home from an invasion. We handled that war correctly. I did not support 43’s “finish daddy’s war”. One only had to look to history to see that dictators were the only ones that could control extremist in that part of the world. You had to be an extremist with a monatary goal and not a religious goal to keep peace (used loosely). So Hussain was the one that provided that security. No one would turn away from him because they knew what the results would be except 43. Once Hussain was removed, the fear factor was removed and that allowed Hussains followers to begin the building of an organization where they would create their own kingdom based on religious doctrine. It took over 10 years, but it exist .Thus we now have ISIS.

        As for Afghanistan, the Taliban were not Al Qaeda from what I can understand. Again eliminating the enemy (Al Qaeda) was the desired outcome. After that was achieved, why stay? People in there own countries have to be willing to stand up and fight for their own freedoms. During the civil war in our country over 2% of our population was killed fighting for their beliefs. I expect others to do the same before asking for American help and then not put your own ass on the line.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 20, 2015 11:20 am

        I would generally agree.

        Except that the Taliban were our enemy.
        They provided substantial material support and protection for Al Qeda and refused to turn them over post 9/11.

        Regardless, we should have focused on disposing of Al Qeda and the Taliban, and left.

        We are in a similar position re syria now.

        It is not our business to do the fighting in anyone else’s civil war.

        We can choose sides, and provide assistance, but people must fight and secure their own freedom. Otherwise they will not value it.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 20, 2015 10:49 am

        Obama did not make the problems in the mid-east.
        But he has made them worse.

        Afghanistan was trivial. Go in destroy the Taliban, and leave.
        We have no responsibility to engage in “nation building”

        We likely would have left a mess. And might even have had to return in a decade.
        so what. The Taliban participated in an act of war against the US.
        They lost their right to exist, certainly to govern.

        We had no obligation to the Afghani’s. After deposing the Taliban, they were responsible to rebuild their own country.

        We never should have gone into Iraq, or Libya.

        While Obama has bumbled Syria – do we actually even have a policy there ?
        I think that the attacks on France are a game changer. I think they justify whatever it takes to destroy ISIS. That includes troops on the ground.

        But again the exist strategy is simple. Destroy ISIS and leave.
        We have no obligations beyond that and we have never done well when we tried to do more.

        Asad is a bad guy – so what. So long as he confines his misdeeds to his own people, we are not justified in stepping in. Protesting, sanctioning – yes, but actual acts of war. No.

      • November 20, 2015 11:00 am

        Can’t argue with you on this. Same page.

      • November 20, 2015 2:32 pm

        “I think that the attacks on France are a game changer. I think they justify whatever it takes to destroy ISIS. That includes troops on the ground.”

        Fine..Then when France, England, Germany, Turkey, the Saudi’s, Kuwaiti’s, Italian’s,and other nations agree to work with the USA, then maybe, just maybe, I could be convinced to compromise my position on fighting in Syria and Iraq and eliminating ISIS. And only when they say this would be a fighting force massive enough to eliminate or neutralize ISIS with in a few weeks would I even listen to any proposals if I were in a position to offer an opinion. As part of this invasion, there are no rules for engagement. You see something, you bomb it or kill it if it looks like or smells like something bad. And as part of that agreement, all nations, would have to agree that a large contingency of troops are left in those countries to keep the peace until the new governments are formed and their security forces are well trained to maintain their own freedom. Base it off the plans used for Germany, Korea, Japan and other nations after a war. And these forces would have to be made up of all these countries and not just the USA and the middle east countries would supply the most with the USA providing technical and special ops support.

        But guess what, we may get a few from the EU, but everyone else will say “let your boys and girls die for our freedom”. Why? Because they don’t have the guts to do it themselves and the USA has been the goat for too many years supporting everyone else in the world. Its time for everyone else to put on some big boy pants and stop running away when the fighting starts like you are seeing in Syria. Women and children running to the EU is fine. Men 16-45 should stay and fight, just like our 18 year old men AND WOMEN who will be sent their to die..

      • dhlii permalink
        November 20, 2015 4:01 pm

        Just to be clear;

        The attacks on France meet the criteria to morally allow us to intervene with ISIS.

        Whether we chose to do so and why is up to us.
        We are not ever obligated to act merely because we are permitted to act.

        We are both agreed that Obama has handled the mideast abysmally.
        I would be disinclined to support a military option he proposed – because I do nto trust him to not do so in the worst possible way.

        I do not think we are obligated to get the support of Nato or Europe.
        But it does not hurt.
        And I do not have a position on whether we should do so without them.

        One of the things I can not get through to people is that libertarianism does NOT answer every question. In the context of government it sometimes tells you what is permissible and what is not. Just because something is allowed does not mean it must be done or even is a good choice.

        In the private sphere it bars violence and harm to others, and little else.
        Shooting herion is a bad idea – even if you have the right to do so.

        Regardless, we are morally barred from using force in the internal affairs of other nations.
        The assorted peoples of the mideast must find their own way to their own freedom.
        We can sanction, blockade, harangue, miscreant nations. We can provide support to their internal opposition. We can and should accept their refugees. But we are barred from using force to interfere even with the murder of their own people.

      • November 20, 2015 5:41 pm

        We are just going to have to agree to disagree on the 10,000 Syrian refugees coming to America and getting help just as JB and I finally agreed to disagree on abortion. I would love to hear our president and congressional leaders speak as forcefully for the 49,933 estimated homeless vets on any given night in America that we have heard this past week or so for foreigners from Syria.

        But 49,933 homeless vets and what to do about them is not an issue where the president can divide the country down the middle like he did with the syrians where 53% oppose the idea and 47% do not for what ever reason they do not. If he were to speak about veterans and getting them help, most all Americans as well as congressional leaders would support his position (maybe not how to do it, but the idea anyway).

        So 49,933 vets are homeless and no one is talking about THAT because it is not political and does not get votes for the party, either one of them.

        Our political system is fine. Our politicians ALL suck.

        http://nchv.org/index.php/news/media/background_and_statistics/

      • dhlii permalink
        November 20, 2015 4:21 pm

        I am not sure I share your negative impression of the peoples of the mideast.
        But I do share the position, that we can not give them their freedom.
        They must take it themselves.

        People do not value what they get for “free”.

        Whether that is political freedom, or medicare or welfare or ….

      • dhlii permalink
        November 20, 2015 10:17 am

        The president has little credibility. That is his own fault.
        It does not mean he is always wrong, it just means there is no good reason to trust that he is correct about what he says.

        ISIS likely intends what they say. That is not the same as being able to do what they say.
        There really are just not all that many Jihadi’s who can get through even a cursory vetting, get to the US, operate on their own for long periods, get jobs, and acquire the resources necessary to pull off a significant act of terrorism and not get caught in the process.

  63. Roby permalink
    November 19, 2015 6:59 pm

    Oh, I can never say what I mean. By fighting I meant fighting in grade school and high school. Before every war, big or one on one, there is trash talk.

    Anyhow my point is that if Obama says he is going to get ISIS that is, first, just the required pep/trash talk, and second to really win means invading Syria, which you are not going to like if it happens.

    I sort of misunderstood or was oblivious to your point about the refugees being a trojan horse. That is one of those issues that I am not wise enough to solve and no one is going to ask my permission anyhow, though I lean to what Jay has been saying, much as I would like to believe in the morality that Dave is promoting. My guess is that Paris probably ended most of the Syrian immigration, whether that is really necessary I do not know. I can understand both sides of the argument but would lean to being very safe. My guess is that we will have launched a real war on ISIS and pretty well wiped them out (to be replaced by some other Islamic nuts) before many of the Syrians enter the immigration pipeline. But I may be wildly wrong.

  64. Roby permalink
    November 19, 2015 7:04 pm

    Jay, I can save you about 50 posts and tens of thousands of words. Yes, Dave does know about all that misery, but he has such a belief in free enterprise that he thinks that nearly all of those tens of millions who would get cut off will find or create jobs in miraculously short order and in any case, and this is the punch line, he believes that we would be best off with about 20% of the government we have now. And you are not going to impress him with any talk about “reality”.

    • Roby permalink
      November 19, 2015 7:08 pm

      I know this is both nosing in and sort of piling on, but I have been through this one and still shudder to think of the time I spent trying to find some angle to coax a single realistic word out of Dave…, he believes in a smaller government that anyone, its nearly all unnecessary and harmful.

      • November 19, 2015 9:29 pm

        It is more than a beleif

        This is just one of many studies looking at the scale of government and economic growth.
        This particularly study finds that from 1999 through 2011 across 31 OECD countries an increase in government spending of 1% of GDP reduced economic growth by .86%.
        With an R value of between .6 and .75 which is pretty good (far far better than CO2 to warming).
        https://danieljmitchell.files.wordpress.com/2014/07/21-connolly-and-li-siena-2014.pdf

        This is not even close to the only study. There are myriads of others. The curve of scale of government vs. economic growth rate is called the Rahn curve and as I noted before it resembles an airfoil. Even Keynes accepted the premise – postulating that 25% of GDP was likely the appogee.
        We do not know that actual maximum – there are very very few data points from government at 1% of GDP through government at 20% of GDP, but we do know that beyond 20% of GDP increases in government spending reduce growth approximately linearly.

        All the above is empiracle.
        Correlation is not causation, but results that are this robust – this type of work has been repeated over and over, with much the same results for decades, likely have some causative foundation.

        While the data does nto surprise me, the empriacle results merely reflect numerous obvious aspects of reality.

        All actions of government are not inherently economically positive.
        It is most probably that those fundimental tasks that governments first take on – such as policing produce significantly net positive returns, while as government grows it is taking on increasingly less likely to be net positive tasks until it has taken on all the net positive tasks and starts performing economically negative tasks.

        Again a fundimentally logical rather than ideological argument.

        But all the above happens to neatly dovetail with a limited government ideology.

        Which is in fact the only ideology that actually works logically.

        So why is it you would expect to be successful in arguing with me ?

        You are arguing against the laws of nature and human behavior.

        Government is force. Government will be significantly net beneficial when performing tasks that require force. It will be less beneficial when performing tasks that can be done without force. The less useful force is the less rational it is for government to perform a task.

        Further the ability of government to use force, both means we must be more careful to constrain government, and that it is less likely to be able to perform efficiently tasks that do not require force – because it will resort to force when force is unnecescary and that is inefficient.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 19, 2015 9:39 pm

        that we disagree does not make my arguments “unrealistic”.

        We as well as other nations have had governments far smaller than ours today, and those have worked quite effectively in their times.

        While we are far better off today than in the past – something the left constantly fails to grasp, we are not better off because govenrment has grown, but better off because everything that is not government has improved.

        Government has grown substantially in the past century. But it has not improved very much.
        While everything else has both grown and improved.

        Further look at the world – if big government worked, the USSR would have won the cold war, China would not have become capitalist, Cuba and North Korea would have stellar standards of living and Hitler would have conquered the world.

        We do not need studies and papers and correlations to look at the world.
        Hong Kong and Singapore with the smallest governments of any developed country have had growth rates consistently near double everyone else for 75 years.
        Whether it is Europe, the US, Canada, NZ or AU, or … for nearly every country we can watch the rate of increase in standard of living decline as the scale of government rises as well as the converse.

        I like data, but I especially like data that conforms to things I have been able to observe first hand in the real world.

    • November 19, 2015 8:47 pm

      Yes, I hear you. But it’s like the parakeets we have in the room where I’m writing this. The male bird has picked up about a dozen different phrases from me and my wife, things like ‘hello pretty bird boy,’ ‘what’s up ‘bird girl?’ ‘Get off the couch, Jake’ (a daily admonition to our dog) Etc. The bird repeats them over and over in different combinations: the words are understandable but meaningless in context. But that doesn’t stop me from reflexively responding when he speaks. There must be a conversation response reflex built into human inter-reaction. I guess Dubious Dave elicits the same reflex response.

      Anything significant in your violin logo, Roby?
      I ask because one of my acquaintances is a violin maker.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 19, 2015 10:48 pm

        I am surprised that you even read my remarks.
        I am certain you do not grasp them – though they are not especially complex.

        That my words are “meaningless” to you is just a reflection of you inability to see the real world rather than your own self contradictory fantasy world.

        We have been through this immigration nonsense.
        The arguments I have made are my own. To the extent they parallel those of others – it would be because people with similar values reach similar conclusions.
        I have read little to nothing that makes most of the arguments I am making yet they are logical and reasonable.
        Regardless they are quite obviously not parroted.

        You are worried about the carnage that some trojans hidden in 10,000 or 100,000 syrians could do. But there are 3M muslims in the US today, and 500K coming each year.
        And we have had nothing similar to Paris for more than a decade.
        And no reason to expect otherwise.

        Certainly there will be another Boston Bomber. Just as there will be more James Holmes’s and Adam Lanza’s.

        Our ability to alter incredibly rare events is near non-existant. We can not even credibly guess whether there will be more or less because we have more immigrants. Because that is the nature of very low probability events.

        Yet you wont to live in fear of 10,000 syrian immigrants when the odds of that resulting in harm to anyone are an order of magnitude less than your being struck by lightening.

        Are you going to close the borders because otherwise someone might be struck by lightning ?

        The connection is nearly as tenuous and the probability higher.

        To the extent that government should make policy at all – it should not do so based on extremely low probability events.

        20,000 people a year die of drug overdoses Since (and including 9/11) there have been 3300 terrorist deaths in the US. Total deaths in terrorist acts is less than 1% of drug overdoses.

        38,000 people die each year from accidental poisoning, 30,000 from accidental falls, 34,000 from auto accidents.

        That is more than the number of syrians we are looking to import.

      • Roby permalink
        November 20, 2015 11:09 am

        Jay, last week when I was trying (no luck) to get posts to go to my e-mail I was revamping my account and decided to have an icon. Since my Roby name here is taken from Roby Lakatos, the crazy talented classical, gypsy, hungarian, jazz violinist, Look him up if you don’t know him already, you will be in for a treat), and since I thought that using my favorite picture of Marilyn Monroe might be an issue, I decided to use a violin image.

        I am a musician, violin was my first love, at age 3, Vivaldi, Bach, Mozart, I was swept off my feet. These days I am mostly a guitarist, but I have been reinventing my violin playing as well as time permits. I should post less obsessively then there would be more time.

      • November 20, 2015 11:21 pm

        Loved listening to him! He looks like Albert Einstein with that hair style.
        One I liked on YouTube was “Minor Swing” on YouTube. Here’s the link with ## at beginning and end so it doesn’t format on the comment screen (there’s an ad at the start I couldn’t strip). It also has a neat graphic at the start, and at about the 4 minute mark, that might make another cool icon for you, if you can figure out how to capture it.

        I pretty sure I’ve seen him before, maybe on PBS. Thanks for the heads up 🎻

    • dhlii permalink
      November 20, 2015 11:30 am

      “free enterprise” is just an articficial subset of freedom.

      I make alot of economic arguments for economic freedom – because we have alot of data on economics and economic freedom.

      But the fundimental issue is freedom not the artificial subset of economic freedom.

      More Free people do better than Less Free, by whatever measure you wish.

    • dhlii permalink
      November 20, 2015 11:35 am

      Reality is that less government means more growth and a more rapidly rising standard of living.

      Cutting government to 1/5 its current size too radical for you ?
      Fine cut it by 25% – that is what you need to balance the budget. That would be a start.
      Then lets see what happens.

      Can’t even manage that ? Fine how about limiting the growth of government to 1% below inflation for a decade ? Even the sequester did not cut that much yet that was purportedly a radical stranglehold.

      When you are prepared to atleast restrain the growth of government to that of inflation, you can claim to be a “moderate”. Until then it is you that are “radical” “extremist”

    • dhlii permalink
      November 20, 2015 11:51 am

      Top quintile families have 2.5 full time wage earners.
      Bottom quintile families have .45 full time wage earners.

      Just getting the bottom quintile to take jobs – even crappy jobs would probably boost GDP by 1T and standard of living by more than 5%.

      Standard of living is GDP/people.

      So there are only two ways to increase median standard of living.
      Kill people without changing GDP – that would be the early 20th century progressive eugenics approach.
      Increase the value that is produced.

      NOTHING else will raise median standard of living.

      • November 20, 2015 4:23 pm

        “Standard of living is GDP/people.’

        No it’s not.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 20, 2015 6:23 pm

        Yes it is.

        We produce in order to consume, We consume based on what we value, (which means we produce what we value). Which means when we produce more of what we value we are better off.

        You are glossing over several things:

        Value is subjective. GDP is not the quantity we produce, but the aggregate value we produce as set by the subjective values of humans.

        Because we produce in order to consume, the value we produce must equal the value we consume.

        All the left wing nut measures like happiness quotients, life expectance, leisure time are factored into GDP.

        To use a concrete example – to have more leisure time AND pay my mortgage, I have to produce more during the hours I do work. GDP measures that I worked harder and produced more. But what I got out of it was more time off.

        Whatever it is we want in life – we must produce in some form to acquire.

        Since we set both the value of steel and the value of leisure time, AGAIN
        what we produce must equal the value we can consume.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 20, 2015 6:24 pm

        stand·ard of liv·ing noun the degree of wealth and material comfort available to a person

      • November 20, 2015 9:28 pm

        “Standard of living refers to the level of wealth, comfort, material goods and necessities available to a certain socioeconomic class in a certain geographic area. The standard of living includes factors such as income, quality and availability of employment, class disparity, poverty rate, quality and affordability of housing, hours of work required to purchase necessities, gross domestic product, inflation rate, number of holiday days per year, affordable (or free) access to quality healthcare, quality and availability of education, life expectancy, incidence of disease, cost of goods and services, infrastructure, national economic growth, economic and political stability, political and religious freedom, environmental quality, climate and safety. The standard of living is closely related to quality of life.[1] In 2013, the Human Development Index ranked the top six countries for quality of living as: Norway, Australia, Switzerland, Netherlands, United States and Germany.[2]”

        From Wikipedia. Many other variations of quality signature criteria available. my personal list also includes availability of quality 🍻 And 🍾 And 🍔🍟

      • dhlii permalink
        November 21, 2015 3:31 pm

        We can model the climate using super computers taking into account myriads of factors, complex formula, and lots of coeeficients.

        Or we can monitor the planet from space as a black box, measuring inputs and outputs.

        Both means are valid. Which do you think is more likely to produce accurate results.

        There is nothing wrong with the information in your wikipedia article.
        But every factor – including the aggregate extent to which we value that factor, is reflected in GDP, which is something that no other means of measuring standard of living can possibly get correct.

        I can call a color cerulean blue, or I can give you a sequence of light wavelengths and amplitudes for that color. Both describe the same color. But the former is unabmbiguous and immune to errors in the sequence of wavelengths and amplitudes.

      • November 21, 2015 6:45 pm

        “But every factor – including the aggregate extent to which we value that factor, is reflected in GDP, which is something that no other means of measuring standard of living can possibly get correct.”

        Others have opinions not as absolute as yours:

        “Many economists and academics have observed that income is not the only determinant of well-being, so other metrics have been proposed to measure standard of living. The Human Development Index (HDI) was developed economists in association with the United Nations Development Programme, and this metric includes measurements of life expectancy and education in addition to per capita income. Prior to 2010, GDP was a direct input in the official calculation of HDI, but it has since changed to gross national product (GNP). There are also adjustments to HDI that account for such variables as income inequality.”

        You can find that at Investopedia.

        What that tells you is if the GDP stays level and the non-income factors change, the SOL can go up or go down independent of GDP.

        That should be obvious to you from your cheerleading mantras about Homg Kong’s small government-expanding growth meme, because Hong Kong’s rising GDP over the years hasn’t proportionately raised its workers sOL in comparison with big government workers in the Scandanavian nations shown in the previous post. Nor have their yearly wages increased proportionately. You’d think with all the economic small government expansion you’ve been touting there, the citizens would be better off.

      • Anonymous permalink
        November 22, 2015 9:51 am

        Noting that GDP includes all the other things you note is not “absolute” in some way.
        It is a tautology that Adam Smith presented two hundred and fifty years ago.

        GDP is NOT Income – it is the value produced. Income is a complex derivative measure it must be used very carefully – which the left rarely does. And is vastly inferior to measures closer to either the value produced or the value consumed. Measures such as IE are derivatives of derivatives.

        Some of the other items you cite are among the many elements of Standard of Living. But none are more than elements.

        The distinction between GDP and GNP is more accademic Both have serious flaws,
        But there problems are that they are inaccurate measures of a nations total produced value, not that total produced value is not the aggregate measure of standard of living.

        HDI is another aggregate measure, but it is far more flawed as it is both incomplete, and its coefficients are the best guesses of experts while the relative value of production is determined by US. We value what is produced buy deciding to buy it at some price.

        You keep trying to externally account for standard of living in bits and peices.
        That is much more difficult that trying to determine the chemical behavior of a complex solution, by guessing at the content of neutrons and electrons, and plugging in coefficients for their effects, ignoring that there are myriads of other subatomic particles and that these all combine to form atoms and those combine to form molecules and that the properties and behavior of atoms and molecules can not be established merely by noting the mix of neutrons and electrons in the solution.

        If you wish to argue that GDP (or GNP) does not accurately reflect the total value of a nations production and needs adjustment – I can agree with that.
        As one example, GDP does not include the value added to externally produced goods before they are sold. This is one of the reasons that our trade deficit is substantially over stated.
        If toyota produces a car in Japan and sells it in the US, the trade deficit and GDP are calculated such that the final price of the vehicle is completely counted as foreign production.

        Regardless, the value that a nation produces MUST over time equal the value it consumes.
        Our standard of living is the value available to consume.
        As to factoring in nonsense coeficcients like “income inequality” – the proper statistical means of addressing that would be to use a MEDIAN GDP/PPP – which is what is typically done.
        Presumably you know the difference between mode, median and mean.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 22, 2015 10:01 am

        With respect to the IE nonsense regarding Hong Kong, Sinapore and all the other small government nations with high growth and high median GDP/PPP.

        What part of MEDIAN do you not understand ?

        And you keep nonsensically returning to wages.
        Wages are a derivative measure. They are inherently inferior to direct measures of production and consumption.

        Most of the IE claims entirely disappear when one looks at the what has happened to consumption or wealth in the various quintiles.

        Furtther I can make no sense of your muttering regarding scandanavia.

        I provided NOTHING about sweden’s wages. I provided data that since approximately 1980 (along with many EU and other nations) Sweden has substantially reduced the portion of GDP that government consumes, and the consequence (as elsewhere) has been a substantial growth in GDP.

        This is precise what you have repeatedly claimed is not true.

        Past that I have no clue what your argument with respect to Scandanavia is – and I do nto think you do either.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 22, 2015 10:17 am

        China was at the bottom of the third world at Mao’s death.
        They are now at the bottom of the first world.
        Are you honestly trying to argue that what was an agrarian nation that had millions starving and imported food in 1974, which is now an industrial nation that exports food and has a median standard of living 275 times higher than before, has had little or no improvement in the life of “workers”.

        Circumstances are little different with respect to Hong Kong, Singapore, ….
        Singapore was a fishing community with an agrarian base and some trade at the end of WWII. The SOL was once again 3rd world.
        Hong Kong was much the same.

        As late as 1970 North Korea’s economy dominated South Koreas.

        The rest of Asia only differs in scale and when they shifted from command economies to market economies.

        And again the strong negative correlation of government size and growth is not unique to these few nations. It is found in sweden and France and Germany, and australia, and NZ, and Canada and the US – throughout the world.
        It is not based on a few data points.

        I provided you several scatter plots and graphs that show many countries.
        But it also proves true in individual countries over time.

        Further it takes very little logical skill to grasp that government actions are going to have diminishing returns.
        Diminishing returns is an economic law. Free markets work arround it by inovation, change and sometimes disruptive change. That it is the antithesis of what we see (and want to see) in government. Do we really want governments experimenting in innovative new ways to use force ?

      • dhlii permalink
        November 21, 2015 3:35 pm

        You “my personal list” makes my point.
        Though I doubt you can consciously accurately list all of the factors and their coefficients for your own conception of standard of living, you still have a unique individual conception of SOL. It is not the same as mine or anyone else’s. No expert can precisely know it.
        No definition can encompass it.

        But median GDP/PPP per capita can accurately aggregate your personal concept with that of everyone else. Something no other measure can do.

    • dhlii permalink
      November 20, 2015 12:27 pm

      Consumption is the sole end and purpose of all production;
      Adam Smith.

      Standard of living = the value we produce.

      Taking people from unproductive to productive uses improves median standard of living.

      Even if those not producing get crappy jobs and produce little – we and they are all still better off.

      If you can figure out how to get them to produce without the incentive of the necescity to produce to survive – which atleast at the start drives us all, more power to you.
      But many have tried and systems that do not at the bottom require you to produce to survive fail. And systems that subsidize survivial without the requirement to produce, result in less production and lower standards of living.

      You think absent public support those at the bottom will grab pitchforks.

      I think they will look for work.

      The 90’s experience with Welfare reform also clearly demonstrates this.

      There was serious fear that “ending welfare as we know it” (unfortunately it is back), would result in worsening conditions at the bottom.

      But the actual results were dramatic. There was a huge gain in employment for those at the bottom, and a substantial movement from poverty to working and middle class.

  65. Roby permalink
    November 20, 2015 10:19 am

    Yes, no government programs for 99.9999% of human history, true. Also for 99.9999 of human history life was brutish and short and there were much fewer of us. A life expectancy of 30 years, Oh for the good old days!

    • dhlii permalink
      November 20, 2015 12:10 pm

      During the past 4 centuries there was a shift that started in the west towards government rooted in natural rights and individual liberty.

      Coincident with that change and starting with each nation an region as it adopted that change the improvement of standard of living suddenly skyrocketed.

      As we get into the last century as government grew the rate of increase in standard of living has declined as government has grown.

      So all that human history tells us two things:
      Government must protect our individual liberty and natural rights otherwise life will be brutish and spartan.
      More government than that comes at the expense of faster improvement in our standard of living.

      There is massive amounts of data on this and it is quite compelling.

      Regardless, the tremendous increase in growth predates big government by several centuries, so while changes in how we are governed are almost certainly the cause, the scale of government is NOT. Big government is not a necescity for rapidly increasing standards of living.

      The decline in the rate of growth of standard of living also correlates exactly to the growth of government.

      That is reality.

      • November 20, 2015 3:14 pm

        “As we get into the last century as government grew the rate of increase in standard of living has declined as government has grown.”

        Sez who? The best indicator of standard of living is how long you live:
        Life expectancy to those born in 1900 = 48.23 yrs
        Life expectancy to those born in 2011 = 76.3 yrs

        Another standard of living indicator would be the number of hours you work:
        Average weekly hours worked in US in 1900 = 60
        Average weekly hours worked in US in 2013 = 33

        Americans have also benefited greatly from other factors considered to be part of the standard of living definition: more vacation time per year, less incidences of disease, better education and health care availability, more entertainment options, etc.

        The biggest change, however, was in the yearly average wage earned by Americans: in 1900 it was $438; in 2014 it was $46,481 – a 106 time multiple increase! Compare that to the cost of a pound of butter in 1900 ($ .26) and in 2014 ($2.10) – a multiple increase of only 6.

        So it appears that as government growth increased, the standard of living INCREASED dramatically.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 20, 2015 5:58 pm

        Sez who – says reality.

        Life expectance is not the typical measure of standard of living regardless read the statement.

        The definiton of standard of living is “the degree of wealth and material comfort available to a person”
        The best measure we have is GDP/PPP per capita.

        Because what we produce must very nearly (over the long run) match what we consume,
        it factors in all those other measures such as life expectance and vacation time – generally we must produce more to increase our life expectance or leisure time.
        I would suggest looking at Maslow’s heirarchy of needs. As we meet the more fundimental needs on the pyramid we focus on meeting those the next level up.

        We rarely care about love when we are starving. The value of water or food declines as we
        produce sufficient for out needs and move up to acheiving other needs.
        No one cares much about what is necescary to reach 80, if they do not have sufficient food to eat.

        The RATE OF INCREASE has slowed. That does NOT mean there has been no increase.

        Standard of living is inarguably higher today than in 1900 or 1800.
        But the improvement from 1800-1900 was greater than the improvement from 1900-2000,
        The decline in the rate of improvement corresponds to the increase in the scale of government.

        Further though we are specifically talking about the US and UK here, the same trend has been present throughout the world – HOWEVER as different nations began their ascent at different times and as the rate of growth of government was different,
        That means that we have the data to correlate growth rate of standard of living.
        With the size of government. I beleive I have already provided links to a few economic papers addressing this. But there are myriads of them.

        AGAIN they have been done over different countries, individually or in groups, over different time periods, and repeatably produce nearly the same results,

        The rate of standard of living increase declines as government spending as a percent of GDP increases above 20% of GDP (total).

        This is not some black magic libertarian secret sauce, with published papers only from free market wingnuts.

        Not only is this robust but it dovetails with lots of other economics studies of government,
        Such as Barro’s extensive data base on government spending multipliers.
        Given the studies above one would expect that government spending multipliers are below unity. And lo and behold – the highest multiplier Barro found was government spending during wartime and that was .85.

        This also ties with R&R’s work on the negative effects of government debt overhangs.

        This also makes common sense. If government must take money from people and then spend it, that is inherently less efficient than those people spending it directly themselves.

        And so we loop back to the begining and the Rahn or Airfoil curve of government size vs. economic growth rate.

        As one would expect government spending on the fundimental purpose of government – securing our rights, That would be the first spending on police, courts, defense, is radically net positive. But as spending increases the low hanging fruit is gone and the benefits of government spending diminish as spending increases, and the negatives of government increase.

      • November 20, 2015 6:45 pm

        “The definiton of standard of living is “the degree of wealth and material comfort available to a person””

        That’s just one of numerous definitions of SOL. And one of the least relevant.
        Check out various Forbes articles about SOL and other economic related quality of life components and you will see that long life is a coefficient of other items high on the list, like healthcareavailavilityandshorterworking hours etc.

        Your assertion about the relationship between big gov and SOL is full of crap.
        My counter assertion however is gold plated.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 21, 2015 1:31 pm

        It is the first defintion Google provides.

        It is also a tautology.

        The fact that you wish to even argue otherwise demonstrates you failure to grasp these things.

        You can not empiracly of theoretically determine the coeficients of factors like life expectance. Because you have no means of establishing the aggregate of the relative values that each individual places on each factor.
        Anything that any “expert” comes up with inherently reflects the bias or views of that particular expert.

        As I noted before – something that you can not seem to grasp, but Adam Smith stated clearly 250 years ago.

        We produce to consume.
        Production must over the long term equal consumption.

        We consume what we as individuals value, and we value it at the price we chose to pay for it. We consume not only food and water, but entertainment and medical services.

        The value of longevity is the portion of what we produde that we direct towards improving it.

        Not some coeficient picked by whatever means some expert thinks is appropriate.

        To put this as succintly as possible:

        GDP factors in all the assorted values we have and it does so proportionate to the extent to which we value them.

        Recreation – it is in there. Longevity – in there, happiness – in there, entertainment – in there.
        Whatever component you think is relevant to standard of living – it is in there.

        Standard of living is whatever we want and need.
        Wealth is …. whatever we want and need.

      • November 21, 2015 10:52 pm

        “You can not empiracly of theoretically determine the coeficients of factors like life expectance. Because you have no means of establishing the aggregate of the relative values that each individual places on each factor.
        Anything that any “expert” comes up with inherently reflects the bias or views of that particular expert.”

        That’s truly ignorant. The entire life insurance industry is based on the coefficients of life expectancy. And we’re not just talking about rates based on longevity tables. Individual expectations about how long people think they will live affects numerous financial decisions, not only when to buy life insurance and for how much, but also similar decisions for buying property, for deciding when and if to have children, etc. These and other decisions are determined by assessments of personal health and life expectancy. But I guess those world wide economic experts who include life expectancy among other variables are dumb as dirt, and you, a self declared expert, know better.

        “As I noted before – something that you can not seem to grasp, but Adam Smith stated clearly 250 years ago….We produce to consume… Production must over the long term equal consumption.”

        Are you seriously suggesting the nature of manufacturing and production hasn’t changed in 250 years? Or the mix of products and services that now comprise the elements of the economy?

        What was meant by ‘consumption’ in Adam Smith’s era has changed over time.
        In Smith’s day the the economy was based on farming and agriculture, and low tech manufacturing requiring hand-labor. In those times goods (the physical inventory) had to be depleted (consumed) quickly over time and equal out.spoilage was ruin.

        Not any more. Now, we often overproduce (25% of supermarket consumables are thrown away). And numerous products are not manufactured or inventoried, but are transferred directly to customers, like computer software and apps and books and other streaming media. For business to succeed now, income must exceed expense.

        I’m a fan of Adam Smith’s moral philosophy. Over time, human nature has not changed. That’s why I can still read or watch Shakespeare and find modern relevance. But relying on Smith for assessments of modern economics is like relying on Henry Ford for defining present day manufacturing modes for production-line auto-making: some of the basics arr still operative but the rest is outmoded.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 23, 2015 11:09 am

        The life insurance industry calculates coeficients of life expectance.

        Not the VALUE of life expectance – that is done by the free market.

        As to those other items – yes all kinds of expects determine when we should do this or that.
        But individuals generally acting freely decide when the WILL do those things.

        Value is determined by the actual choices of people for themselves, not by the putative experts who may advise them.

        Again “these decisions are NOT determined”, You can not distinguish between advice and choice.

        There is nothing wrong with the world wide experts you cite.

        All that is wrong is your conflating the advice of experts with the choices of individuals.

        Are you proposing that people should be barred from making there own choices in these matters ? That the experts you regard so highly should chose for us when we have children, buy houses, Buy life insurance …. ?

        If you are – then you are a tyrant, and separately what actual evidence we have is that the more control – the actual decision making, rather than merely advising, is turned over to your experts, the less well off we are.

        If you accept that individuals are free to make their own choices – regardless of the view of the “experts” then you have ceded the entire argument.

        We decide value – factoring in the advice of your experts as we choose.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 23, 2015 11:29 am

        Of course things have changed over the past 250 years.,

        Those changes are driven by the increase in individual freedom.
        Many of those changes occurred prior to the modern era of big government – so big government is clearly not the agent of those changes.

        The mix of products in the economy is determined by our values.
        The sole purpose of production is consumption.

        What is produced is what is we want.
        We increase portion of what we want that we can actually have by being more productive.
        And that results in our standard of living increasing.

        Those technological changes you note – they are increases in productivity and therefore increases in our ability to meet more of our wants and needs.

        What is produced and consumed has changed – what is meant by consumption has not.
        We consume the things we need and want. What we are able to consume is constrained by what we can produce. Change that allows us to produce more, allows us to consume more.

        Smith BTW rejected the agrarian theory of value.

        Though I strongly suspect that your overproduction claims are false – the left loves to offer this nonsense. Yet observation refutes it. My local supermarket receives truckloads of new goods all the time. There are two dumpsters in the back. One is for cardboard boxes and those are recycled. The other is for the rest of store waste, and it is not emptied anywhere near frequently enough to make this 25% meme true.

        But even it true it would be irrelevant. The laws of supply and demand still rule.

        Wasting cosmetically inferior food is a sign of a high standard of living. It means the we place a high value on cosmetic perfection and are prepared to throw out food that does not meet that standard. We can only afford to do that if our standard of living is very high.

        Of course the revenue of a business must exceed its expenses. Otherwise there is no incentive to business. One of the failures of govenrment is that it does not have to conform to that rule.

        There is also a rule for free exchange – Value received must exceed value delivered or no voluntary exchange will occur.
        But that rule applies to both sides of a voluntary exchange.
        When you buy a hamburger the hamburger must be worth more to you than the money you pay for it – or you would not buy it. Conversely the money you pay must be worth more to mcdonalds than the hamburger.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 23, 2015 11:36 am

        Just as morality has not changed, and human nature has not changed, the fundimentals of economics have not changed.
        Economics is about human behavior and about satisfying our wants and needs, about improving our standard of living.

        It is not about the details of how to sell produce. Or construct a model T.

        As you note Shakespeare still has meaning today – because the fundimentals of human nature have not changed.

        The same is true of Smith.

        In fact modern economics is more strongly rooted in Smith, than modern psychology is rooted in Freud or modern physics is rooted in Newton.
        The fundimentals of economics have not changed.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 21, 2015 1:59 pm

        The relationship between SOL and big government is both theoretically and empiracally sound.

        I have provided you with both. You have not even argued against either – beyond jumping up and down and saying “your wrong, your wrong”

        Even the data you provided that you claimed upheld your assertion and refuted mine – does exactly the opposite – because you conflate absolute increases with the rate of increase.

        I will be happy to address an actual argument when you make one.
        Thus far you are just waiving hands and stomping feet.

        Worse you are doing so with regard to something that is patently obvious.

        If Big Government worked – the USSR would have crushed the US.
        If it worked the SOL in europe would be higher rather than lower than the US (depite the fact that the US has about 41M mostly very poor 1st generation immigrants).
        If Big government worked the world would have been moving towards rather than away from socialism for the past 50 years.

        I would recommend
        “The commanding heights: The battle for the world economy” to you.
        It is both a book and a BBC/PBS documentary – that is available on the internet for free.
        The book goes into far more detail.

        But most importantly, what I say does nto matter, what others say does not matter.
        What nations throughout the world have done, does matter. Much of the 20th century is the contest between various forms of statism and freedom.

        Get a clue – Freedom won. Whether it is on the grand scale – such as the worldwide failure of various permutations of socialism. Or at the low level – the US regulatory destruction of our freight system and its recovery from near death to the largest, most profitable, robust, and cheapest in the entire world with deregulation. Or the destruction wrought by keynesian inflation games and the recovery brought about by the fiscally sound policies of reagan and thatcher.

        Whatever I say. Whatever all the talking heads say. Look at what has been done that has worked.

        The same political party may have an iron grip on china – but that party has shifted from a poarticularly disasterous form of socialism to fairly free market capitalism.
        And in consequence 1.6B people have had their standard of living raised 275Fold in 40 years. That alone should damn all this progressive economic nonsense.

        Read Ronald Coases “How China became Capitalist”. Coase is a noble winner, and one of the top 4 economists of the past century.

        But if China does nto do it for you look at India, most of asia, south america, even europe.

        While each of these have chosen their own routes to greater economic freedom, and have varied in the strength of their commitment and the rapidity of their reform,
        All demonstrate, that as freedom inscreases and as the scale of government shrinks relative to the size of the economy, standard of living increases.

        And the rate of increase is proportionate to the ratio of the economy to the size of government.

        You can rant that the earth is flat, if you wish. But ranting does not make it reality.

      • November 21, 2015 7:12 pm

        “The same political party may have an iron grip on china – but that party has shifted from a poarticularly disasterous form of socialism to fairly free market capitalism.
        And in consequence 1.6B people have had their standard of living raised 275Fold in 40 years. That alone should damn all this progressive economic nonsense.”

        Are you dumb as a doorknob?
        The SIZE of China’s government is even LARGER NOW then it was under strict socialism. If big government is so ruinous how has China, a nation with a humongous governmemt, managed to become the powerhouse manufacturing giant it is?

      • dhlii permalink
        November 22, 2015 10:29 am

        1) You continue to confuse absolute measures with rates of growth or proportions.
        China’s population has nearly doubled since Mao’s death. Of course its government has grown. But for the first 25 years post Mao the RELATIVE size of government declined

        2). The scale of China’s government as a percent of GDP is still FAR below that of the US and EU.
        3). From Mao’s death until 2000 – the period during which the most significant growth and change occured the scale of China’s government dropped from 30% to 15%.
        4) Since 2000 that trend has gone the other way and China has not been able to maintain its nearly double digit growth and is facing serious economic issues right now.

        You can not govern 1.6B people with the same size government as you need for .7B.
        You can not govern a country whose GDP has done this

        With exactly the same government as 45 years prior.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 20, 2015 6:15 pm

        Comparing things like the cost of Butter accurately over long periods of time is extremely difficult.

        There are myriads of ways to do it, and they all produce different results. One of the reasons is that changes in inflation, productivity, and abundance are not even close to uniform accross time and place.

        This is again one of the reasons we typically use things like GDP/PPP per capita.
        Because since GDP is an agregate number – that includes both butter and automobiles, because most inflation rates are derived from agregates things are easier to compare.

        But an alternative is to compare the amount of labor necescary to procure some good over time.

        Finally, you are also getting hung up on the difference between absolute changes and rates of change.

        If I have $1 in 1900 and it grows by 7%/year in 1950 I would have 27.50.
        If from 1950-1999 it grew at a rate of 3%/year in 1999 I would have 117
        It appears that the period from 1900-1950 was worse than from 1950-1999
        But if growth had remained at 7% in 1999 I would have had 758 in 1999.

        Those numbers BTW presume that the inflation rate is 0.
        Before the Federal reserve we actually had mild deflation – again making comparisions before and after 1913 extremely difficult.

        Regardless, As noted before in addition to doing the comparision through one country over its particular history and governance, we can also do it across many countries and between countries and as we had lots of countries with different rates of growth and different scales of government, we have alot of data and we can do regressions and derive correlations and R values and all kinds of things to determine the confidence of our results.

        You are not arguing with me – you are arguing with the data – and with reality.

      • November 20, 2015 7:55 pm

        “Comparing things like the cost of Butter accurately over long periods of time is extremely difficult.”

        Your head must be filled with cement. You have no flexibility in your ability to think. In the comparison I gave you you don’t have to ACCURATELY know the cost of butter to understand the relevancy of that significienty larger change in comparison to wages!

        The evidence is incontrovertible. Over time, the population increased. The government got bigger. Our standard of living in real terms increased astronomically. That’s right. You’re wrong. Case closed.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 21, 2015 3:14 pm

        Comparing the change in cost of anything to the change is wages is derivative.

        IF you must do these kinds of changes compare to the labor necescary to purchase the commodity at different times. That atleast factors our differences in the inflation rates of wages and the commodity you chose.

        The point I am making – which you ignored is that there are many possible means to compare the past and the present – though most support my arguments,
        Regardless, some comparisions are inherently more meaningful than others.

        There are multiple different measures that we use to determine “inflation”
        These are not the same and comparisions of prices adjusted using different measures for inflation are highly error prone.

        There are several techniques to try to get the most meaningful comparisions:

        Measure prices in terms of labor required to acquire them. This eliminates inflationary skews.

        Use inflation adjusted aggregate measures like GDP. Since the inflation index is aggregate and what is being measured is aggregate skews are minimized.

      • November 21, 2015 10:56 pm

        Dave, you’re just spinning your wheels.
        Let’s find some other topic to disagree about.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 23, 2015 11:49 am

        My point is that the majority of your counter arguments miss the forest for the trees.

        The incidence of cancer today is greater than ever, yet life expectance continues to rise.
        Both are true.

        Many of your arguments are correct, but just as a rising incidence of cancer does not change the fact that life expectance has increased.
        The details of expert assessments of components of SOL does not alter that SOL strongly negatively correlates to the scale of government.

        I frequently ask for an example of anything that govenrment does that is net positive – because government is so relentlessly net negative.
        But all government actions are not net negative (as all are not net positive).
        It is surprisingly difficult for the cheerleaders of big govenrment to come up with actual examples of net positive government action. But that does not mean they do not exist.

        But in the end the net effect of government is the sum of ALL its costs and benefits, not merely the few net positive ones, or the benefits without the costs.

        The same with Standard of living. The arguments you are making are not false – except with respect to the contention that experts should replace individual choice.
        But you are looking through a microscope at a bacteria in the bowels of a tiger – when it is the tiger you need to be focused on.

        Production = consumption. Consumption = standard of living.

        All those things you fixate on – are reflected in total production.
        Just like the impact of that bacteria on the tigers decision to have you for dinner.

      • November 23, 2015 12:24 pm

        What part of “Let’s find some other topic to disagree about.” didn’t you understand?

      • dhlii permalink
        November 21, 2015 3:18 pm

        That government must increase approximately proportionate to population is totally extraneous to this argument.

        Our standard of living has increased as the size of the population increases.
        Also an indpendent issue and while true completely at odds with the assertions of malthusian progressives.

        Our standard of living has also increased as the size of government has increased.
        BUT what you keep ignoring is that the rate of increase has DECLINED as the size of government increased.

        Even the trifle of data you have offered demonstrates that

        “That’s right. You’re wrong. Case closed”

      • dhlii permalink
        November 21, 2015 3:22 pm

        Try a reductio ad absurdem on your proposition

        “standard of living increases as the size of government as a percent of the total economy increases”

        That would mean optimal standard of living would be government at 100% of GDP.

        Are you honestly arguing that ?

        Did the USSR, NK, Cuba actually win the cold war ?

        If you are not then you have already accepted the Rahn curve and all we are arguing about is where is the appogee.

        And the data says that it is somewhere below government at 20% of GDP.

  66. Roby permalink
    November 20, 2015 7:18 pm

    “You are not arguing with me – you are arguing with the data – and with reality.”

    This is also part of the Dave pattern, he does not merely have beliefs, he knows the absolute truth. As well, not a single other soul who has argued with Dave here has ever been told anything other than, You are completely wrong, There is only one possible conclusion that can be made from the data, I have it absolutely right and you have no clue.

    There has been lots of concrete data posted in this discussion, which is a good thing, any hope a person has of understanding any complex question must rest on data. Actually, there are literally trillions of data points on this economic size of government question. Not one person on this earth can grasp even a tiny part of those data points. The idea that one can step back and see a clear and irrefutable answer to the question of what size of government is optimal for a country with 350 million moving parts and an unbelievably large number of problems they face is a delusion. No computer can model a problem so complex and no human can comprehend it. All of us can take a wild guess as to how the world would look if our belief system were imposed on it, and all of us would be wrong. There are two kinds of people with regard to such complex problems, those who know how much they can and cannot know and how much they cannot understand, and those who are unbelievably arrogant and foolish.

    Dave’s opinion that government is harmful and should be eliminated as much as possible has been evolutionarily tested and there is not a single government in the world that resembles his cherished ideal. Not one. We could have a bit more government, a bit less, but evolution has selected the range that is necessary in the modern world, the one with 9 billion people, modern medicine, rapidly changing employment types, etc. If a country wants to try Dave’s model, fine. So far, no takers. But we are the ones who are arguing with reality.

    • November 20, 2015 11:32 pm

      So nice I listened to it twice!
      Are you by any chance playing on the video?

      • Roby permalink
        November 20, 2015 11:54 pm

        Just learning it. I have a probably dozen hours into it already and will have a dozen more by the time its approaching the lesson speed and clarity. He is very clean and has great tone, a bit like a lute. I’d like to know what kind of strings he is using.

        I’m trying to get a program of christmas jazz and classical together, I should be going for easier less time-consuming things that are nearly as good but take nowhere near so much time. But once I have it, I’ll have it and be better for it.

    • November 20, 2015 11:34 pm

      That was meant for the guitar video. Seems to have posted above it on my tablet.

    • dhlii permalink
      November 21, 2015 2:14 pm

      Beat the crap out of that straw man.

      If the facts are against you attack the person.

      Again. “You are not arguing with me, you are arguing with the data and with reality”

      What concrete data has anyone offered that contradicts my assertion ?
      I have not seen either you or Jay offer any.

      Jay wants to go off on idiotic and irrelevant tangents regarding the definition of Standard of Living. Even if I ceded to his nonsencial measures that would not change the outcome of the argument.

      Your complexity argument is a very very good one – except that the result is that government can not possibly “manage” the complexity of the economy. Conversely free people left on their own mange quite well. They need not grasp the complexity of the entire economy. The merely need to understand those portions most immediate to them – and even those they need not understand perfectly.

      And reversing, complexity may preclude control and manipulation, but it does not bar understanding of underlying principles.

      Everything about the complexity of the economy precludes government from successfully managing it.
      Nothing about the (rapidly growing) complexity of the economy precludes it from following some fundimental principles.

      People nearly always act in their own self interest. While we can not always perfectly determine that, we can still know that is what they are highly likely to do.

      The laws of supply and demand are immutable.

      The law of diminishing returns applies to government as much as everything else.

      Can we know to ten decimal places the optimal size of govenrment ?
      Highly unlikely.
      But we can trivially know which direction from here is toward optimum, and irrefutably is is smaller.

    • dhlii permalink
      November 21, 2015 2:31 pm

      Lets assume arguendo your assertion about complexity. That the optimal size of govenrment is not perfectly knowable.

      Does that argument mean we throw up our hands and assume that all sizes are equally optimal ?

      The heisenberg uncertainty principle states that we can not know both the speed and location of a atomic partical with certainty. Yet we can with very great precision produce graphs of the probable behavior of electrons.

      I have provided you with data that results in a rahn curve graph of the rate of growth vs. the size of government and that graph reflects a statistical correlation with an extremely high R value.

      There is still a small probability that graph is wrong.

      But would a wise person bet heavily against a very strong statistical correlation ?

      That we can not know absolute truth, does not mean that we can not know absolute falsehood, nor that we can not compare the probability of different contenders for truth.

      we have many many views contending to be accepted as truth.
      The absence of any ascertainable absolute truth does not make them all equal, or even make most of them valid.

      Further, regardless of what we know about the truth of individual propositions,
      We can know that specific propositions can not both be true.

      The classical liberal – aka Libertarian philosophical position is internally and externally consistent. It can not answer ever question, but those it does answer it answers in a fully consistent fashion.

      That can not be said of any other political philosophy.

      The principles you accept or reject have consequences – they bind you to a subset of all possible truths that is consistent with those principles.

      You do not get to argue that everything is relative nothing is absolute therefore all alternatives are equally valid.

    • dhlii permalink
      November 21, 2015 2:43 pm

      The trend for the scale of government contradict your evolutionary claim

      Whether is it sweden, norway, canda, or germany, the trend in much of the world is STRONGLY towards smaller government as a percent of GDP

      http://www.tradingeconomics.com/norway/government-spending-to-gdp

      http://www.tradingeconomics.com/germany/government-spending-to-gdp

    • dhlii permalink
      November 21, 2015 3:04 pm

      Hong Kong and Singapore have Government spending to GDP ratio’s of 20% of less.
      That is half ours. They have maintained approx those levels for over 75 years.
      They have had growth rates that are double ours.
      During the the past 75 years they have both gone from the third world to standards of living that are BOTH now higher than the US.

      In the past the US had far lower government spending and far higher growth

  67. Roby permalink
    November 20, 2015 7:24 pm

    What I should be doing instead of arguing with Dave:

  68. Roby permalink
    November 22, 2015 10:51 am

    “Are you honestly trying to argue that what was an agrarian nation that had millions starving and imported food in 1974, which is now an industrial nation that exports food and has a median standard of living 275 times higher than before,”

    A. While there were Chinese famines with millions of deaths, as far as the west can tell, in Mao’s time, no one was starving in China in 1974, let alone millions. (By the way I went to grad school with lots of Chinese students who were born earlier than 1974 and hung out with them and tried to speak Chinese a bit, ha, ha ha, no luck there, but I never heard a word about widespread starvation.)

    B. Nothing could show more clearly what is wrong with your SOL scale than a purported 275 times higher standard of living in China, life for an average Chinese person was 275 better? That is completely absurd, maybe it was twice as good, perhaps even three times but 275 times? Never. The SOL of a country ought to mean how well the average person lives or it is just an artificial number that can even become absurd when it says the SOL increased by 275 times in 40 years in China. Fail.

    Clearly SOL is a slippery concept and no one index is going to capture it. One would need to use a wide range of indexes just to get a hint of the reality. As well, SOL is by its nature an average statistic and there are large pockets of people who are running counter to the trend of any statistic one can use. The GDP per capita in the US has increased steadily, Hmm, Detroit, Baltimore, New Orleans, they must all be different countries.

    From Wiki:

    “The standard of living in the United States is one of the top 20 in the world by the standards economists use as measures of standards of living. Per capita income is high but also less evenly distributed than in most other developed countries; as a result, the United States fares particularly well in measures of average material well being that do not place weight on equality aspects….

    On comprehensive measures such as the UN Human Development Index the United States is always in the top twenty, currently ranking 3rd. On the Human Poverty Index the United States ranked 17th, one rank below the United Kingdom and one rank above Ireland.[4]
    On The Economist’s quality-of-life index the United States ranked 13th, in between Finland and Canada, scoring 7.6 out of a possible 10. The highest given score of 8.3 was applied to Ireland. This particular index takes into account a variety of socio-economic variables including GDP per capita, life expectancy, political stability, family life, community life, gender equality, and job security.[5]”

    The Wiki article has a graph of the GDP per capita from 1989 to 2011 and median houshold income. The first goes ever upward. The second was going up with and then declined strongly to wind up with no increase. Which one gives us our standard of living?

    No one is going to hit a home run and settle this argument but there is no way that GDP/people is the gold standard of our crude attempts to understand the nebulous concept of standard of living.

    Ask Ron if he thinks the standard of living has been going steadily upward in the US for the last 50 years. Not to put words in his mouth but I think he’ll tell you that our joint life has gone steadily into the crapper.

    • Roby permalink
      November 22, 2015 10:55 am

      This is a new one to me, if you click on that small icon in my post you get the graph.

      • dhlii permalink
        November 23, 2015 11:50 am

        Can I buy a noun ?

    • dhlii permalink
      November 23, 2015 12:18 pm

      I am not claiming that starvation in China in 1974 was a bad as in the late 50’s.
      Only that in 1974 People we starving in China, and that one of the worlds largest agrarian nations was a net importer of food at the time.

      Our detailed data on Mao’s china is incredibly poor, we have no good measure of exactly how bad things were at a specific time. That does not mean we do not know they were very bad.

      My daughter is chinese, my family is deeply immersed in chinese culture and history, and I have numerous chinese friends.

      Yes, SOL in china has increased 275 fold since 1974.
      Atleast as accurately as we can measure changes that large.

      You are clueless as to how bad things were in 1974.
      China’s SOL in 1974 was slightly BELOW what it was in 1900.
      Today it is as the bottom of the first world.
      Today 93% of the chinese have Cell phones.
      In 1974 93% of the Chinese did not have sufficient income in a year, to buy a cell phone at today’s low prices.

      If you want to argue that China’s SOL is only 50 times better – with changes this great the precision of those types of comparisions is poor. But claiming it is 3 times as great is ludicrous.

      You do know that the SOL for the entire world has doubled during that time frame ?

      No SOL is not a slippery concept. The left deliberately tries to obfuscate improvements in SOL. Because the ideology of the left is rooted in class warfare, hatred, and poverty, and government as the answer. As it is obvious that our lives have improved dramatically and the role that government has played in that is minimal, the power of the left is diminished.

      SOL is NOT by nature an “average” statistic.
      Statistics provides numerous means of reporting.
      While it is easy for most of us to take total GDP and divide it by population.
      Most SOL numbers are MEDIAN GDP/PPP per capita.
      Presumably you know what MEDIAN means as compared to MEAN ?

      Yes with every trend their are outliers.

      But according to the US Census the wealth of each quintile in the US has doubled over the past 50 years.
      That means that those living in poverty today for the most part have twice as much or twice as good of food, shelter, …

      And please do not argue with me. If you disagree – go look up the census data.
      In the bottom quintile Apartment sizes have nearly doubled, car ownership has far more than doubled, airconditioning, TV’s computers, phones have gone from non-existant to the norm.
      Even in the bottom quintile.

    • dhlii permalink
      November 23, 2015 12:33 pm

      Why are you citing oppinion statements from Wikipedia ?

      1). The best measure of SOL is median per capita GDP/PPP. Even other adjusted income methods are typically reported as medians.
      Trying to make an income inequality argument using medians is statistical nonsense.

      The GINI index was invented because left wing nuts were unhappy that their nonsense was not supported by median data.

      Medians atleast have a clearly understandable meaning. GINI indexes are aggregate deviations from a claimed optimal distribution. Yet there is no evidence there is an optimal distribution.

      Further it is possible(easy) to have a high median – something most of us would think was good, and a High GINI index – something that is purportedly bad.

      Regardless, please do nto try to sell me IE arguments – they are bunk.

      If you want me to comment on a graph – link to the graph.

      The measure of MEDIAN SOL would be median per capita GDP/PPP consumed.
      There should not be any debate there.

      Meausres that use income are derivative.

      Further, you are misrepresenting my claims.

      I have not said anything has “steadily” gone upward.

      My argument is the opposite. That SOL strongly negatively correlates with the scale of government.

    • dhlii permalink
      November 23, 2015 12:59 pm

      One of the reasons for not using derivative measure like income, is that it is pretty easy to find some income chart that uses a different means of adjusting for inflation.
      CPI vs. Monetary vs any of the myriads of other forms of inflators.

      There are numerous reasons for using GDP as a measure. But on is that it is by far the most easy to accurately adjust for inflation – be because aggregate inflation applies perfectly to aggregate production.

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