The Duke and the Dauphin

This week Chris Matthews called Gingrich and Huckabee the “Duke and the Dauphin” and said they were “working the back country like the charlatans on the riverboats.”

The Duke and the Dauphin (with Huck in the background)

He was referring, of course, to the two unsavory low-lifes in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn who earned their living by conning the country bumpkins. (It would have been great if this had been the origin of the word “huckster,” but the word came by way of the Dutch, not the Finn.)

Matthews was joking, but his anger was real. His reference was to the deliberate, calculated way the GOP 2012 hopefuls are once again selling their snake oil of birtherism to the gullible and the hateful. Newt talks about Obama’s “Kenyan roots” and colonial angst. Huckabee is going even further, invoking Obama’s “childhood in Kenya” with pointed allusions to the Mau Mau Uprising, which stirs every white southerner’s deeply ingrained fears of slave revolt, uprisings of angry black men, and white people being hacked to death in their beds.

And then of course we have Representative Pete King (R-NY) holding Congressional hearings about America’s “radicalized Muslim churches.”

Yes indeed…the crazies are stealthily creeping out of their underground hidey-holes and beginning to sun themselves on the rocks. It can only mean one thing…GOP primary season will soon be upon us!


About filistro

Filistro is a Canadian writer and prairie dog who maintains burrows on both sides of the 49th parallel. Like all prairie dogs, she is keenly interested in politics and language. (Prairie dogs have been known to build organized towns the size of Maryland, and are the only furry mammal with a documented language.)
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

246 Responses to The Duke and the Dauphin

  1. Bart DePalma says:

    Fili:

    I have no earthly idea where Huckabee came up with this Kenyan childhood nonsense, but one of the keys to understanding Obama is by examining the people he used as father figures after his biological father abandoned Obama and his mother.

    Barack Obama, Sr. was indeed a very vocal Kenyan anti-colonialist and socialist. After abandoning his family, Obama Sr wrote a detailed essay on how to make socialism work in Africa. Obama dedicated his first memoir to this missing father whom he felt a desperate need to impress.

    His mother remarried an Indonesian oil company executive Obama recounts as Lolo. Obama remembers Lolo for teaching him to be strong because strong men take the land, labor and women of weak men. Obama was impressed enough to quote Lolo extensively and appreciatively in his first memoir.

    When they returned to Hawaii, Obama’s mother started a friendship with communist party member and and black power advocate Frank Marshall Davis. Obama recounts how Davis challenged him to be an authentic black man and Davis is credited for helping inspire Obama to go into community organizing, which BTW was a Socialist Party strategy for gaining positions of power prior to a socialist revolution.

    (This last comment is not an unfounded smear. The second chapter of my book uses a couple dozen primary socialist sources to trace the history of the socialist revolutionary theory which influenced Obama. This theory starts with French Marxist philosopher Andre Gorz and then to revisions of the Gorz theories by American socialists who became Obama friends and advisors. As I detail in the book, almost every key Obama Administration initiative falls rather comfortably into this framework.)

    Still looking for authenticity as a African American, Obama sought out and obtained as a mentor Reverend Jeremiah Wright of the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. Wright was a charismatic preacher of a particularly racist and hateful strain of black liberation theology and Obama dedicated his second memoir to this last in a string of father figures.

    If you are looking for “crazies,” you will find them in Obama’s father and the father figures who Obama himself prizes as mentors.

  2. filistro says:

    Bart… unlike you, I am not a class-and-caste-conscious Republican. I judge everybody as they stand on their own two feet, based on their own merits and accomplishments.

    Unlike you, I don’t believe heredity is destiny.

  3. filistro says:

    I am endlessly amused by the Republican primary system, which is essentially a competition to see who can be the most batshit crazy and still survive.

    The best thing about the GOP primaries is that they shine a beam of light on the dark places in the country. They also (quite mercilessly) show how the things Republicans SAY they care about are not the things they REALLY care about.

    They SAY they care about fiscal issues and “small government.” But what they REALLY care about is totally the opposite… gaining legislative power which they can use to force their narrow moral views on other people’s lives.

    Most amusing of all (in a tragic-comic kind of way) is how the primaries force reasonably sane politicians to toe the crazy line right up to the edge, forever damaging their credibility and their careers. (c.f. Pawlenty, Timothy.)

  4. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    George Washington was a fierce anti-colonialist. As was Gandhi.

    Martin Luther King was quite proud to be black.

    Jesus preached and showed severe socialist tendencies. (Loaves and fishes. “Easier for a rich man to pass through the eye of a needle . . .”, “Give to him that asks you . . .”, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth . . .”, etc)

    I believe we, and even you Bart, still find them to be quality mentors and not the “crazies” you speak of.

  5. Mr. Universe says:

    From “Dreams of my Father”,

    That was one of the lessons I’d learned in the past two and a half years, wasn’t it? – that most black people weren’t like the father of my dreams, the man in my mother’s stories, full of high-blown ideals and quick to pass judgment. They were more like my stepfather, Lolo, practical people who knew life was too hard to judge each other’s choices, too messy to live according to abstract ideals.

    Did you read the book? Or as usual just parroting soundbytes from your talk radio masters?

  6. Bart DePalma says:

    Fili:

    I completely agree with you that we should judge Obama and everyone else by what they say and do and not by class, race or parentage. Part of my purpose in writing my book was to get beyond the conservative dead end of noting Obama’s radical associations and move onto examining his actual policies. A man can have radical association and not be radical. Moreover, a politician can even have radical personal beliefs but still not translate those beliefs into policy. I only spend a chapter on Obama’s history prior to the presidency and only part of that chapter on Obama’s radical associations – and only then use them to provide context for his later policies. Obama is only a player – albeit a prominent one – in the evolution of American socialism after its near death experience at the end of the 20th Century. The really interesting story is how socialism adapted to the new circumstances of the free market counterrevolution and achieved power where it failed over the prior century.

  7. mostlyilurk says:

    Bart,
    Who’s publishing your book and when is it being released?

  8. filistro says:

    Bart… serious question… what is your moral objection to “socialism?” You always use the word as a severe pejorative.. almost an obscenity.

    Socialism is not “communism”… and properly managed, it can be one of the most productive, fair and efficient systems of governance yet devised.

    From wiki: A socialist society is organized on the basis of relatively equal power-relations, self-management, dispersed decision-making (adhocracy) and a reduction or elimination of hierarchical and bureaucratic forms of administration and governance; the extent of which varies in different types of socialism.[4][5] This ranges from the establishment of cooperative management structures to the abolition of all hierarchical structures in favor of free association.

    As an economic system, socialism is the direct allocation of capital goods (means of production) to meet economic demands so that production is oriented toward use and accounting is based on some physical magnitude, such as calculation-in-kind, or a direct measure of labour time.[6][7] Goods and services for consumption are distributed through markets, and distribution of income is based on individual merit/individual contribution.[8]

  9. Bart,

    Obama dedicated his first memoir to this missing father whom he felt a desperate need to impress.

    Oh, really? And how do you know that he felt a desperate need to impress the man?

  10. And socialism doesn’t even have to be economically crippling. From Wikipedia (it’s all properly cited in the article): “In 2010, Sweden had the fastest economic growth and highest innovation in the European Union, while the World Economic Forum ranked Sweden as the second most competitive country in the world.”

    And Sweden’s level of socialism put’s France’s to shame.

  11. Bart DePalma says:

    ml:

    I plan to self publish in ebook and paperback this fall as the campaign season ramps up. Ebooks with their low price and high publisher royalties have completely turned the traditional brick and mortar industry upside down. Publisher profit margins are so thin that it is exceedingly hard for a first time nonfiction author to get published without a fame platform of some sort. So, I am going indi.

    I have spent the past month working on a business and marketing plan. My marketing plan targets the Tea Party and conservative alternative media networks and then expand if the book sells satisfactorily.

    I have finished researched and outlined the entire book and written 3/4 of it. It is now getting close enough to finish that I can taste it.

    Fili, do you know any good free lance editors?

  12. filistro says:

    Albert Einstein’s famous 1949 essay… Why Socialism?

  13. filistro says:

    @Bart… Fili, do you know any good free lance editors?

    Yes, several, but they exclusively edit fiction.

    (On second thought, judging from certain references you’ve made to your magnus opus, perhaps they would be appropriate candidates ;-))

  14. Bart DePalma says:

    filistro says: Bart… serious question… what is your moral objection to “socialism?” You always use the word as a severe pejorative.. almost an obscenity.

    Boiled down, socialism is the government taking the power to direct business from the citizenry and for the purpose of redistributing income from citizens who create it to those the government favors. Thus, socialism is a direct assault on individual liberty.

    Hayek was correct in calling this ideology the road to serfdom. Michael Barone’s moniker “gangster government” is also apt as socialism shares many of the characteristics and corruptions of the mafia. Again, I am not saying this simply to name call. The Obama Administration is a fact rich source of proof for these contentions.

    MW:

    Go google “obama father” and you will find multiple articles discussing the affect of Obama, Sr.’s abandonment on his son. I did not come up with this insight. One does not write a middle aged memoir called Dreams From My Father based upon a father he never knew unless that father has a rather substantial influence on your life. One does not write a second middle aged memoir dedicated to another father figure in your life unless father figures are also a substantial influence on your life.

    Socialism is first and foremost a threat to liberty. The fact that socialism is also an economic failure is secondary.

    Also, Sweden is the model of a redistributive welfare state. However, it does not engage in extensive direction of its economy to achieve redistribution. Between WWII and Thatcher, England was more socialist, nationalizing several industries.

  15. Bart DePalma says:

    Fili:

    I you want an expert on relativity, go to Einstein.

    If you want an expert on economics, you might want to consult Hayek, Mises and Friedman.

  16. Mr. Universe says:

    Socialism is first and foremost a threat to liberty.

    1. No, it is not. But feel free to provide examples of socialism’s alleged failures.
    2. It depends on what you define as ‘liberty’. If liberty to you means you can cut down all the trees in America for a profit, then no, you are the threat to liberty.

    The fact that socialism is also an economic failure is secondary.

    As usual, not a fact. It is evidence that you do not comprehend what socialism is.

    PS: Friedman was wrong.

  17. Monotreme says:

    It’s obvious that Bart knows more about political systems and ideologies than Albert Einstein.

    Bart, you might want to query the editor of the Unabomber’s manifesto.

  18. Go google “obama father” and you will find multiple articles discussing the affect of Obama, Sr.’s abandonment on his son.

    I did. I didn’t see anything credible about desperation.

    I did not come up with this insight.

    No, you didn’t. Frankly, I have yet to see you come up with an insight of your own.

    Sweden is the model of a redistributive welfare state.

    Fair enough. Please illustrate, for those of us playing the home game, which things the US has been doing that are “socialist,” that are not similarly being done by Sweden, the “redistributive welfare state.”

    Also, while you’re at it, you can tell us how you feel about a “redistributive welfare state” of government.

  19. filistro says:

    Bart, I don’t need to consult Hayek, Mises and Friedman.

    I can see with my own eyes what horrific damage uncontrolled capitalism (or “pure”capitalism, as Einstein styles it) has done to America in recent decades.

    Moreover, because I live in, invest in, and pay taxes to both countries, I can also see with my own eyes how much more easily Canada (with some degree of economic socialism, stringent controls on financial dealings and a hefty social safety net) has survived and bounced back from thsi brutal greed-induced recession. Canada is booming, its stock market has outpaced the DOW by almost 20%, and unemployment is back to pre-recession levels.

    There is nothing magic about capitalism. It’s just another economic system, subject like all the other systems to its own unique, innate failings. Uncontrolled anything is not good for society… and capitalism is no exception.

  20. Mule Rider says:

    “Jesus preached and showed severe socialist tendencies. (Loaves and fishes. “Easier for a rich man to pass through the eye of a needle . . .”, “Give to him that asks you . . .”, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth . . .”, etc)”

    Only a fool would equate Jesus’ teachings to socialism. Not saying he was a capitalist either but there’s no connection to the quotes you used and “socialism.”

    “I can see with my own eyes what horrific damage uncontrolled capitalism (or “pure”capitalism, as Einstein styles it) has done to America in recent decades.”

    This is the problem. This country has been tarnished by the stain of “crony capitalism,” not “pure (laissez-faire) capitalism.” Big difference. And if you would follow through and read the work of Hayek and Mises as Bart suggested, you’d see the difference.

  21. Mule Rider says:

    And the part about socialism being a proven failure is both true and false. It has succeeded in places the people show almost unerring discipline. But those places represent more the exception than the rule. The premise for socialism, regardless of the quality/standard of life it may support when it does happen to “succeed,” is still antithetical to true economic freedom.

  22. Bart DePalma says:

    Fili:

    Uncontrolled anything is not good for society… and capitalism is no exception.

    :::sigh:::

    Do you realize what an authoritarian statement that is?

    Let me try to frame this in a way that gets closer to where you live.

    Should the government socialize writing where authors are effectively reduced to civil servants, told what they may write and the wealth you create from your writing is redistributed to writers whose work does not sell?

    You supported just such a regime for health insurance through Obamacare.

  23. Monotreme says:

    Bart,

    Should the government socialize writing where authors are effectively reduced to civil servants, told what they may write and the wealth you create from your writing is redistributed to writers whose work does not sell?

    You supported just such a regime for health insurance through Obamacare.

    Bart, I know something about both writing and health care. You don’t.

    As Wolfgang Pauli famously said, “It’s not right. It’s not even wrong.”

  24. filistro says:

    Should the government socialize writing where authors are effectively reduced to civil servants, told what they may write and the wealth you create from your writing is redistributed to writers whose work does not sell?

    Oh, jeez, what a crock of nonsense. Let me repeat (for the slower learners at the back of the classroom).. socialism is not communism.

    Nobody suggests favoring a system where writers are “effectively reduced to civil servants” and “told what to write.” (What are you, 15 years old? )

    I do, however, strongly favor a system where “entrepreneurs” are controlled by not being allowed to rip off my hard work, repackage it under a different author name and sell the new book for profit. Don’t you… even though that control is a “curb” on pure capitalism?

    And I did not “support just such a regime for health insurance through Obamacare.”

    I supported a reasonable facsimile of the same compassionate, intelligent system I live under in Canada, where everybody in the entire country gets quality, lifelong, completely portable health care for a fraction of the cost.

    Who wouldn’t, if they had half a brain?

  25. filistro says:

    @Muley.. This country has been tarnished by the stain of “crony capitalism,” not “pure (laissez-faire) capitalism.” Big difference.

    What is the difference, Muley?

  26. Monotreme says:

    Yeah, that civil servant Steig Larsson was “told what to write” by the Swedish government, and they took all his money and gave it to hack writers. Oops, Larsson was the hack.

    All the while he was getting socialized health care in the socialist state he lived in. The doctors were “told what [prescriptions] to write” and the good doctors made lots of money but it was all redistributed to hack doctors who didn’t know what they were doing, which is why Larsson is dead now.

    Makes perfect sense to me, and Ted Kaczynski.

  27. Monotreme says:

    One interesting thing about refuting Bart’s posts is that you can’t use reductio ad absurdum, because he beats you to the absurd every time.

  28. Bart DePalma says:

    Fili:

    Free markets accept laws which enforce property rights, contracts and prohibit one person from harming another. If this is the extent of the “control” you advocate, you are a libertarian.

    You understandably rebel against my hypothesis for a socialist regime for directing writing for the purposes of redistribution of wealth. My question which you sidestepped was why you support just such a regime for health insurance.

    I asked: Should the government socialize writing where authors are effectively reduced to civil servants, told what they may write and the wealth you create from your writing is redistributed to writers whose work does not sell?

    Obamacare does reduce insurers to civil servants by determining what product they may offer and is attempting to determine what price they may charge with the objective of redistributing insurer income to the categories of insured favored by the government.

    I created my writing socialism hypothetical from the reality of Obamacare.

    BTW, communism is a subcategory of socialism. In a free market, the citizenry directs a nation’s businesses. Under socialism, the government directs some measure of a nation’s businesses. Socialist governments – even the totalitarian USSR – never direct all of the economy. Socialism is always a mixed economy directed by both the government and the citizenry. Communism simply directs a greater degree of the economy than do other flavors of socialism like the post WWII Britain and the Obama Administration.

  29. filistro says:

    @Bart.. My question which you sidestepped was why you support just such a regime for health insurance.

    Perhaps you weren’t paying attention, dear. (You seldom do, after all.) I supported single-payer, and failing that, at least a public option.

    As far as communism being a subcategory of socialism… one could just as well argue that marriage is a sub-category of prostitution, wherein one barters one’s sexual self in exchange for certain benefits.

    So… marriage and prostitution… pretty much the same thing, right? In fact, marriage is really just the slippery slope to the oldest profession. 😉

    You are such a blockhead, Bart. It comes from being a rigid ideologue, because the continual effort of wrestling facts to fit one’s bias tends to stunt the intellectual process. I’ve never met a rigid ideologue who didn’t come off as being fairly juvenile… and conversely I’ve never met a really wise person who wasn’t always willing to say.. “You may be right” or “That’s a good point” or (best of all… )”You know, I think I’ve probably been wrong about this.”

    And now I’m going to the library for a few hours. Carry on.

  30. Obamacare does reduce insurers to civil servants by determining what product they may offer

    No. It does not.
    End of discussion unless you can show where in the code it prohibits insurers from offering whatever insurance they wish.
    Your next persistent post to this thread will be that demonstration or an admission of you being incorrect. Your choice.

  31. dcpetterson says:

    Geez, Bart is having a good time stringing together senseless talking points, with no historical precedent, no understanding of economics or politics, invented definitions he alone holds, a total lack of logic, no comprehension of the things he reads, cherry-picked data points (some of which he invents), and not even a passing familiarity with the concept of “context” — and you guys are arguing with him? Seriously?

    His “argument” is the perfect example of Poe’s Law. He’s gotta be using a random parody generator.

  32. Todd Dugdale says:

    BDP wrote:
    Obamacare does reduce insurers to civil servants by determining what product they may offer

    We’ve been through this one before, haven’t we?
    We’ve had mandatory seat belts in new cars for over twenty years, and air bags for about 15 years. I haven’t noticed the old hammer and sickle flying over the nation during those years, even though this is a clear case of the government determining what product the auto industry may offer.

    In the same way, the government’s food safety standards “determine” that the industry can only a “product” that is safe to consume. The government, in effect, determines what product the industry may offer, since contaminated food cannot be sold even if they would want to. Which is scary in your mind, I guess.

    and is attempting to determine what price they may charge with the objective of redistributing insurer income to the categories of insured favored by the government.

    …which is completely different than the ‘free-market” answer, which is that the insured end up subsidising the un-insured through Hill-Burton and higher hospital costs when the un-insured end up in the emergency room.

    Or the way the mortgage interest deduction redistributes income from non-homeowners to the “favoured” class of homeowners. Or the way that the dependent deduction redistributes income from the childless to the “favoured” class of taxpayers with children. People are really upset about the “socialism” there, aren’t they?
    Or how homeless shelters redistribute taxes from those with homes to the “favoured” class of people sleeping under bridges. Those lucky bastards, eh?

  33. Mr. Universe says:

    @Todd

    Yep. And we’re going through it again with light bulbs. Apparently some Republicans are incensed at the government restrictions on making light bulbs 25% more energy efficient. They think you should be able to burn incandescent light bulbs 24/7 despite the fact that eliminating incandescents (not what the mandate required just what will happen) will save $10 billion in energy costs and CFC’s last 10 times longer.

    I think they’re just pissed because they won’t be able to use their Easy Bake Ovens ™ to make stuff for their Tea parties.

  34. Bart DePalma says:

    BW: Obamacare does reduce insurers to civil servants by determining what product they may offer

    MW: No. It does not. End of discussion unless you can show where in the code it prohibits insurers from offering whatever insurance they wish.

    You are kidding, right? What on Earth do you think Obamacare does?

    While its 2,562 pages are both breath-taking and mind-numbing in their scope, much of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) is dedicated to single proposition – granting the Secretary of Health and Human Services near dictatorial powers over the health insurance industry. The bill commands more than 700 times that the “Secretary shall” enact rules determining what insurance coverage Americans can purchase, and on another 200 or so occasions allows the Secretary to arbitrarily decide whether to enact even more regulations.

    Philip Klein, “The Empress of Obamacare,” The American Spectator (June 2010). http://spectator.org/archives/2010/06/04/the-empress-of-obamacare

    In it most expansive grant of power, the PPACA states that “the Secretary shall define the essential health benefits…” that must be included in the insurance Americans can purchase from government operated exchanges starting in 2014.

    Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Sec. 1302(b)(1).

    The HHS Secretary has tasked her Committee on Defining and Revising an Essential Health Benefits Package for Qualified Health Plans (a fittingly overstated name) to recommend what health care should qualify as an essential health benefit. Using this recommendation, the Secretary will then tell health insurers what coverage they must offer.

    Emily P. Walker, “IOM ‘Essential Benefits’ Panel Told to Start Small,” MedPageToday.com (January 14, 2011). http://www.medpagetoday.com/Washington-Watch/Reform/24343

    Medical service providers immediately made it plain they know who is now in charge of writing insurance policies. Instead of making their pitches to the health insurers, providers are now lobbying the Obamacare bureaucracy to include their products among the mandated “essential services.” If the regulators rebuff the lobbying, the provider then seeks a member of Congress to slip the requirement into a piece of legislation.

    Sarah Kiff, “Cancer Docs Lobby for Prostheses” Politico (September 28, 2010). http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0910/42782_Page2.html

    HHS’s application of its own mandates is completely arbitrary as they have offered over 1000 exceptions to date, including the entire state of Maine.

    http://nation.foxnews.com/health-care/2011/03/07/number-obamacare-waivers-climbs-above-1000

    http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/261763/maine-gets-obamacare-waiver-daniel-foster

    Michael, you are free to identify any substantive areas of health insurance coverage which do not fall under the control of HHS.

  35. Monotreme says:

    The PPACA sets minimum standards for what a “health insurance” plan subsidized by taxpayer money must entail, in the same way the USDA sets minimum standards for what may be called “beef”. Taco Bell is still free to sell whatever they want and call it “food” whether or not it meets those minimum standards. Insurance companies are still free to sell sub-standard insurance policies to idiots, but those policies won’t meet PPACA standards.

    Your inability to see the difference is startling.

    Further, Michael Weiss (one of the moderators of this blog) said:

    Your next persistent post to this thread will be that demonstration or an admission of you being incorrect. Your choice.

    Your post (which I released from the spam filter) was not a demonstration that PPACA “prohibits insurers from offering whatever insurance they wish.” It most certainly was not an apology.

    You have violated the rules of this blog. I’ll be looking out for your apology, or I will be the next moderator to lower the ban hammer on you.

  36. dcpetterson says:

    To return to the actual topic of this thread:
    Matthews was joking, but his anger was real. His reference was to the deliberate, calculated way the GOP 2012 hopefuls are once again selling their snake oil of birtherism to the gullible and the hateful.
    We have, fortunately, witnessed precisely this sort of snake oil, the “deliberate, calculated way” American conservatives go about selling hateful nonsense to the gullible. The demonstration alleviates any need to footnote filistro’s statement, or to back it up with further data or quotes. It is sometimes useful to have con men in the audience.

  37. Monotreme says:

    Further, Bart, of the links in your article — you owe me for Brain Bleach now — only the first, from the hyper-partisan and “not even wrong” American Spectator, is even about PPACA supposedly exercising dictatorial controls over the content of health insurance policies.

    Therefore, only the American Spectator link could be considered to be germane to your bullshit assertion, even in your alternative universe.

    The American Spectator link is useless partisan babble. It’s self-contradictory, even within one sentence:

    The law forces individuals to purchase insurance coverage or else hits them with a tax.

    Which is it, “forcing” individuals to purchase something, or “hit[ting] them with a tax”? I have a choice; I can buy an insurance policy which meets minimum standards set by the Secretary of Health and Human Services (who will be a Republican, in time, so he may change them) OR I can pay a tax.

    I can let garbage accumulate in my home, causing a public health problem, or I can pay the government to remove it.

    The provisions in PPACA are no more dictatorial than the provisions that say what school lunches must include in order to be Federally subsidized.

    Still looking for that apology.

  38. filistro says:

    @dc… It is sometimes useful to have con men in the audience.

    LOL!!! Indeed.

    In exactly the same way, a teacher can spend hours educating her students about natural defense mechanisms and diversionary tactics in the animal world…

    …or she can simply keep a skunk in the classroom. 😉

  39. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    “or she can simply keep a skunk in the classroom.”

    or, as we used to say in the South, down on the farm: “READING about getting kicked by a mule, and getting KICKED by a mule are two totally different things!

  40. GROG says:

    Monotreme:

    The PPACA sets minimum standards for what a “health insurance” plan subsidized by taxpayer money must entail, in the same way the USDA sets minimum standards for what may be called “beef”. Taco Bell is still free to sell whatever they want and call it “food” whether or not it meets those minimum standards. Insurance companies are still free to sell sub-standard insurance policies to idiots, but those policies won’t meet PPACA standards.

    Your inability to see the difference is startling.

    The thing you seem to be missing is that if insurance companies “choose” to not comply with the PPACA provisions and forego federal subsidies, they are no longer a viable business.

    So no, they have no choice. They either run their businesses the way the federal government tells them to or they go out of business.

    Your inability to see the difference is startling.

  41. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    “While its 2,562 pages are both breath-taking and mind-numbing in their scope”

    Only for those folks who don’t stop to take a breath before blurting out inanities and those whose minds are already chilled to almost the freezing point.

    For the rest of us, the bill is mostly legalese with enough salient points to make it worthwhile as a starting point to what this country actually needs to address the serious healthcare needs as per costs.

  42. shortchain says:

    The bill wouldn’t have be thousands of pages long if insurance companies would simply abide by the rule: treat your customers fairly.

  43. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    So no, they have no choice. They either run their businesses the way the federal government tells them to or they go out of business.

    Does that make you mad, GROG?

    How about meat processors having to meet federal sanitation and quality requirements or go out of business? Does that piss you off, GROG?

    How about automobile companies having to equip their cars with minimum strength bumpers, seat and shoulder belts and air bags or go out of business? Pissed yet, GROG?

    How about road contractors having to build highways to minimum standards for safety or go out of business? Mad as hell, yet, GROG?

    How about toy companies having to meet standards for paint and other factors so children won’t die or go out of business? Hot under the collar yet, GROG?

    Your inability to see the need for “We the People” to protect ourselves from <laissez faire business practices with government required minimum standards is startling!

  44. GROG says:

    If you’re comparing product safety regulations such as lead paint in toys to the insurer mandates in Obamacare, then you have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about.

  45. They either run their businesses the way the federal government tells them to or they go out of business.

    Not necessarily. Sure, it’s much easier to follow the proscribed path, but it’s far less restrictive than those put on the food or automobile industries. Those industries have actual prohibitions. Insurance companies are allowed to sell whatever the states permit, regardless of anything in PPACA.

    And given that the restrictions that the states have are far more draconian than anything in the PPACA, I presume that you must be far more upset about what they’re doing than anything done by PPACA, correct?

  46. Number Seven says:

    About marriage being on the slippery slope to prostitution.

    Marriage is where you buy gifts for your wife for the possiblity of having sex.

    Prostitution is where you pay for the woman to leave after having sex with you 😉

  47. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    EXCELLENT retort, GROG!!!

    I must say, I am TOTALLY floored by that argument and just have no answer whatsoever.

    My own ignorance of what I am speaking about just destroys me.

    Guess you won.

    Silly child.

  48. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    Oh my!

    I just realized that YOU differentiate between companies who try to kill YOU versus those who try to kill your bank account.

    And that you don’t think that “We the People” should differentiate either.

    Guess you’re really, really pissed that Madoff is in jail, then.

  49. GROG says:

    Yes Max. I’m pissed that Madoff is in jail because we conservatives do not believe in laws. We believe in a completely lawless society in which companies should be allowed to put poison in food, auto manufacturers should be allowed to purposely put faulty brakes on cars, and murder should be legalized.

    Do you actually see no middle ground between anarchy and believing there may be too much regulation?

  50. Monotreme says:

    GROG,

    Given that no one (not you, not me, not anyone) has seen these regulations, on what do you base your assertion that PPACA is “too much regulation”?

  51. Todd Dugdale says:

    GROG wrote:
    If you’re comparing product safety regulations such as lead paint in toys to the insurer mandates in Obamacare, then you have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about.

    They are equivalent in that, in both cases, the government determines which products can be sold. This is exactly what Bart asserts makes someone a “civil servant”, which is the first prong in his test for “socialism”. The analogy stands.

    In his second prong, the government determines the price the company can charge with the objective of redistributing income to a favoured class. The ACA does not, of course, set the price for insurance. It does establish standards, and the price of insurance is affected by those standards. Safety and fuel efficiency mandates likewise increase the price of a new car, but there is no one in the government telling an auto dealer directly what price they have to sell a car for. Lead paint is used in toys because it is cheaper, so the government is “determining” that the price of toys is higher than it would be otherwise.

    As far as the scary “redistribution” aspect, please mention a few countries in the history of the world that do not (or have not) redistribute income in some way, shape, or form. Most empires in history, for example, extract wealth from colonies and redistribute it to a “favoured class”. Was it socialism when America “redistributed” the Native American lands to settlers? Wasn’t slavery socialism? Is it socialism when your tax dollars are taken away from you and given to a cop in the form of a pay-check? Are elections socialist enterprises undertaken with public tax dollars, even though everyone who pays those taxes does not vote, and some cannot vote?

    Apparently, by Bart’s definition, every government in the history of the world has been socialist.

  52. Todd Dugdale says:

    I’ve neglected the topic at hand.
    There is a very interesting article here that has an anthropological take on “birtherism”.

    The idea, put in over-simplified terms, is that “birtherism” is not really something that most movement conservatives believe, but rather that it is a “shibboleth” that serves to show that an individual identifies with their “tribe” – a verbal “gang sign”, if you will.

    It’s something that a conservative is expected to nod at when someone expresses birther sentiments. In such a way, they indicate that they are intimately familiar with the talking points and required indoctrination, and establishes that the individual is “one of you”. As such, the expression of “birther” beliefs is not intended to be made to those outside of the cognitive bubble.

    This is obviously a problem when a candidate appears in a media environment that is open to “believers” and “non-believers” alike. You want to show the base that you are “one of them”, but you don’t want to display your verbal “gang signs” to the un-initiated, either.

    The author concludes:
    Does all this hurt or help the Republicans? In short-run electoral terms, I think it helps. A base of loyal supporters who, for one or other of the reasons mentioned above, are immune to factual evidence has to help win elections. There are, however, two big costs

    * First, people have noticed that Republicans have a problem with reality. That perception, which undermines the rationale for all sorts of thinking about policy, will take a while to sink in, but it will also be hard to erase once it is generally accepted. In the long run, this has to turn off a fair number of Republican-leaning independents and any remaining Republicans with a capacity for embarrassment.

    * Double-think is very difficult, and people will start to act on the basis of their beliefs. If those beliefs are ludicrously false, trouble is likely to follow.

    I think that the reaction of the Independents will be crucial, and we should continue to draw attention to these verbal “gang signs” whenever they thrown by Republicans. The Right has generally failed to realise that their victories in 2010 were due to Independents, not the base; thus, the over-reach we are seeing now.
    As Cook explained it in the National Journal:

    It’s not about defections, and it isn’t so much about turnout either. In 2006, 38 percent of all voters called themselves Democrats and 36 percent called themselves Republicans. In 2010, it was 36 percent for each party. The big difference was that independents in 2006 swung from backing Democrats over Republicans (by 57 percent to 39 percent), to preferring Republicans last November (by 56 percent to 38 percent). The swing in both elections was 18 points.

    The article also makes a reasonable case that Independents are shifting to the Democrats’ side on at least one key ideological issue: the role of government. But that’s another issue entirely. The point is that the Republican base has no idea how crazy these “shibboleths” make them appear to Independents, and it’s an exploitable opening. In these days of cell phone cameras and mp3 recorders, it’s impossible for Republican candidates to keep campaign events (and the things said at them) solely among “the Faithful”.

  53. Todd,
    That’s a very interesting and astute observation. What I’m having a hard time with is understanding if, over time, those shibboleths become part of those people’s actual perception of reality, as in your quoted point

    Double-think is very difficult, and people will start to act on the basis of their beliefs. If those beliefs are ludicrously false, trouble is likely to follow.

    One can be politically powerful enough to create a new political reality. Where it becomes especially dangerous is when those same people fail to realize that such power does not extend into natural reality (i.e., the laws of physics). That is, presuming that we don’t actually live in the Matrix.

  54. Mr. Universe says:

    @Todd

    Secret handshake, eh?

    I’ve noticed when the Republican politicians come to our town they lock events down pretty tightly. Cheney was here and he never even left the private hangar the of the jet flew in on. They held the closed event in the hangar. Palin charged a bunch of money for the tickets but no cameras or cell phones were allowed in the room.

  55. Todd Dugdale says:

    MW:
    I don’t really think that movement conservatives believe that the President is a Muslim or a Kenyan. We’ve seen conservatives here claim that the entire idea is a creation of the “liberal media”, but it should be clear by now that conservatives have one story for public consumption, and another story when in the exclusive presence of their “own”.

    One of the bizarre social developments in the ascendancy of the Right has been the complete and utter abandonment of any kind of internal criticism. A conservative can say virtually any crazy or outrageous thing (even tell outright lies that everyone present knows is untrue) when they are among “their own”. Nobody will call them on any aspect of it. Often an individual will even expand on the outrageous or untrue statement to show their “loyalty to the tribe”.

    Some are clever enough to hold the two discordant paradigms in balance, but many are not. And it’s becoming increasingly acceptable to basically say, “Why bother?”. The opinion of those outside of the cognitive bubble is becoming increasingly irrelevant to those inside. And there is virtually no restraint or control over the content of the reality “inside”, since there is no internal criticism allowed.

    As an anecdotal example, two weeks ago I was talking to three college-educated wingnuts. One of them said, as if it were a known fact, that the Supreme Court had ruled “way back” that any legal citizen can shoot and kill an illegal alien, provided that the legal citizen is “sure” that the alien is actually in the country illegally.
    The other two momentarily looked uneasy, but in under a second they were backing up their fellow wingnut and assuring me that, yes, this was the law and that “everybody knew” this to be true.

    As the internal bubble reality gets crazier, and there is less inclination to keep it separate from exposure to the un-initiated, we can expect a huge frustration and sense of persecution from the Right. The “liberal media” will be “lying”, and those outside the cognitive bubble will be seen as “brainwashed” and biased against them.
    The line between what is real and what is simply myth for internal consumption will blur in the minds of many movement conservatives.

    Some will resist this and try to speak for sanity, at least in public, but the desire for purity and the belief that “this is their time” will overwhelm rationality.
    One-third of the electorate will become, for all intents and purposes, BDP. And this will be their undoing.

    We are engaged in a battle of wills in which facts and logic have limited utility. The more we stand up to them, the more they are forced into their isolated world with their fabricated ‘truths’, revisionist histories, and shibboleths.

  56. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    GROG,

    The part YOU, and other so-called “conservatives”, don’t seem to understand, particularly when, as long as it fits YOUR ideological map, regulation and government intervention is just hunky-dory, is that We the People, through our elected representatives, have instituted all these burdensome regulations in OUR name.

    If you don’t like that, tough shit! That’s democracy in action.

    A hundred years ago, this country REJECTED laissez faire capitalism with the trustbusters, led by that GOP President Teddy Roosevelt and GOP Congresses, because they saw where that path was leading. Corporate regulation has been, and is, the result.

    YOU conservatives seem to have forgotten that lesson.

  57. Todd Dugdale says:

    Mr. Universe wrote:
    I’ve noticed when the Republican politicians come to our town they lock events down pretty tightly.

    Bachmann has had similar restrictions at events, but someone is always able to record it. There are digital recorders the size of “thumb drives” now, and they are very inexpensive. I use them on my bat surveys.
    But these restrictions tend to backfire even if they are successfully carried out, because everyone wonders why all of the secrecy is needed. I think it is mostly a marketing gimmick to sell to the base. They think that they will get the “real” candidate, because the candidate is free to speak their mind in the restricted environment.

    I’m having a hard time coming up with any equivalent shibboleths on the Left. Maybe “Bush is a war criminal” or “Bush stole the 2000 election”, but those are at least partially based in fact and are more of a fringe belief than anything mainstream.

  58. Mule Rider says:

    @Max,

    You lost all credibility with the Madoff strawman…..but assuming you had any left, you pissed it away with this statement…

    “A hundred years ago, this country REJECTED laissez faire capitalism with the trustbusters”

    No. 100% wrong. This country has NEVER rejected “laissez faire capitalism” because it’s never been exposed to it. It’s had a heavy helping of “crony capitalism” but never “laissez faire capitalism.”

    But you’re too busy building up strawmen and tearing them down to understand the difference. And that’s why you’re an utter failure at understanding how the world around you works.

  59. dcpetterson says:

    Mule,
    This country has NEVER rejected “laissez faire capitalism” because it’s never been exposed to it. It’s had a heavy helping of “crony capitalism” but never “laissez faire capitalism.”

    You made a similar statement earlier in the thread. Filistro asked you if you could describe the difference. I’m also interested. Could you define these terms, so we know what differences you see?

  60. msgkings says:

    Isn’t the big recent ‘Left shibboleth’: Bush was behind the 9-11 attacks?

  61. Todd Dugdale says:

    msgkings wrote:
    Isn’t the big recent ‘Left shibboleth’: Bush was behind the 9-11 attacks?

    Not in my opinion.
    Now, it’s a fact that Bush was warned of such a thing. And there are “truthers” (who are not really “Left”) that maintain that it was an “inside job”. Generally, the same “truthers” who claim that Bush was behind 9-11 also claim that Obama is behind the poisoning of the country with “chem trails”, and that Obama issued orders to blow up the Deepwater Horizon platform to make the oil industry look bad. I could go with the list of conspiracies, but the gist of it is that these are conspiracy theorists who blame whoever is in power. In fact, the idea that Bush was behind 9-11 was a relatively common belief among “sovereigns”, who are definitely not “Left”. It has since been tossed away, much like the idea that Clinton was going to replace the money supply with “redbacks”, or that there were thousands of U.N. “blue helmets” in Montana waiting to stage a coup at Clinton’s orders.

    There was an elected Democrat once upon a time (I forget the name) who made “truther noises” (e.g. calling for an investigation), but they were squelched by the Party in short order and are no longer in Congress. Certainly, no one with the equivalent stature of Gingrich or Huckabee has ever been a “truther” in the Democratic Party.

  62. Monotreme says:

    Todd Dugdale said:

    There was an elected Democrat once upon a time (I forget the name) who made “truther noises” (e.g. calling for an investigation), but they were squelched by the Party in short order and are no longer in Congress. Certainly, no one with the equivalent stature of Gingrich or Huckabee has ever been a “truther” in the Democratic Party.

    Cynthia McKinney. Batshit crazy.

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

  63. Todd Dugdale says:

    Thanks for that, Monotreme.
    Anyway, I would hardly call “truther” beliefs a “shibboleth” among the Left. It serves quite the opposite effect – to establish the individual as firmly on the fringe and not to be taken seriously.

    In the big picture, there isn’t a lot of “conformity of thought” among the Left. It is more of a coalition of different interests that tend to make common cause as a practical matter, rather than out of rigid ideological orthodoxy. It’s hard enough to get everyone to agree on the facts, much less lies.

  64. Mr. Universe says:

    Cynthia McKinney

    Oh yeah, I worked for the Publisher that distributed a book she had written. Trust me, I did not want to be involved in that but, hey, gotta keep the lights on, ya know?

  65. And I had such respect for you up until I read that. Is it too late to leave this joint?

  66. Mr. Universe says:

    😀

    I know, I know. I’m such a whore.

  67. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    Mule,

    “But you’re too busy building up strawmen and tearing them down to understand the difference. And that’s why you’re an utter failure at understanding how the world around you works.”

    It is a real shame, Mule (and GROG), that you have let the concept of “literalism” as you want to apply it to the Constitution, narrow your minds to the point of not being able to recognize and understand the concepts of analogy and similarity. You fail to interpolate or extrapolate “shit” and then, not recognizing the turd on the floor by sight or smell, have to have your nose rubbed in it to realize “Hey, this is shit!”.

    Since I have no cred left with the right (funny how it’s only with the right! Wonder why?), maybe you can get around to addressing the rather pointed questions directed to you by fili and dc soon.

    Just to keep your credibility, ya know!

  68. filistro says:

    This morning, from Politico….

    President Obama used his first appearance at the annual Gridiron Club Dinner as POTUS to push home an already labored point — with a little help from The Boss.

    Taking the stage to give the evening’s closing remarks, the president looked toward the live band at the back of the room and asked, “Can we go with the song we talked about?”

    “Born in the U.S.A,” belted out Bruce Springsteen, drawing big laughs from the some 650 government officials, political figures, news executives and journalists in gathered at the Washington Renaissance hotel for the club’s 126th anniversary.

    The Freepers are not amused….

    LOL.

  69. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    fili,

    Of course they are not amused.

    The only things they find amusement in are those that may help them politically. As economic disaster under Dem leadership, turmoil in the Middle East under Dem leadership, natural disasters in the Far East under Dem leadership, ad nauseum.

    Things GOOD for America, under Dem leadership is anathema to their sense of humor.

  70. filistro says:

    @Max… Of course they are not amused. The only things they find amusement in are those that may help them politically.

    They are also sullen and resentful. They suspect, in their dim reptilian brains, that they are being MOCKED… not just by the President, whom they loathe, but by most of the country.

    Nobody likes being laughed at… not even a Freeper.

    And yet, so intense is their hatred of Barack Obama, they just can’t let it go. They can’t bear to think this detested usurper is actually an American just like them, a fellow countryman who shares the same heritage as they do. To accept that fact is to shatter their entire world view… and we all know how stubbornly a winger will cling to his own position even in the face of a mountain of facts and an avalanche of evidence proving him wrong.

    We do have some conservatives in here who will admit when they are wrong, and even adjust their thinking accordingly. They are the ones I genuinely like and respect, and whose ideas I take seriously.

    The rigid ideologues and the mindless haters… not so much.

  71. GROG says:

    Monotreme:
    Given that no one (not you, not me, not anyone) has seen these regulations, on what do you base your assertion that PPACA is “too much regulation”?

    I’m assuming you were responding to my last comment to Max. I wasn’t referring to regulations in PPACA. Max seems to think I get “pissed” whenever the government regulates anything such as lead in toys. I don’t. But I do think too much regulation can be bad.

  72. Monotreme says:

    @GROG:

    Okay, thanks for the clarification. I misunderstood you.

  73. GROG says:

    It’s the left that can’t let the birtherism thing go. Give it a rest already. It’s a way to deflect the attention of the people away from the real problems of the nation that your party is failing to fix. (I know, I know. You think they’re fixing them, but they’re not.)

    Fili,

    Talk all you want about your Freepers and how much they hate Obama. The left detested Bush for 8 years with the same amount of hate as the the Freepers hate Obama. It didn’t matter what he did or what decision he made, you guys hated him for it. That’s the way it is. The far right hates Obama. The far left hated Bush. We’re all grown ups. Let’s move on.

  74. filistro says:

    C’mon, GROG. 51% of Republican likely primary voters tell pollsters they don’t think Obama was born in the United states.

    51 percent, GROG!

    It’s a huge problem for Republicans. HUGE. All the smart Republicans like Karl Rove know it’s a huge problem. And denying it doesn’t make it go away… especially when the primary GOP hopefuls are out there pandering to the craziness.

    As Todd says, birtherism is sort of like secret handshake… but the buddy groups forget the whole world is watching them while they give each other these leering, sneering winks and nods.

    You are also wrong when you say The left detested Bush for 8 years with the same amount of hate as the the Freepers hate Obama. That’s just not true, GROG. I’ve been monitoring political-fringe websites for the past decade (it’s what I do ;-)) and you’re right, there was lots of BDS around… but nothing like the loathing on the right for Obama. It’s not even political, it’s PERSONAL. One proof of this is the way it spills over onto his wife and family. The hatred and filthy insults toward Michele Obama at far-right websites are truly sickening. For what ? Raising her kids, promoting child health, helping military families? We never saw any attacks from the left on Laura Bush that would rise to 5% of the vitriol routinely directed at this First Lady from the far right.

    It is sheer, vile, blind hatred. And it is costing them dearly. When you’re in a war, it does you no good to hate your enemy, or construct elaborate fantasies about his wickedness to get your own team riled up. Much more sensible to stay calm, rational, clear-eyed and analytical about your enemy’s weakness. The right is too distorted by irrational hatred to be able to do that… which is why Obama will always defeat them.

  75. Todd Dugdale says:

    GROG wrote:
    But I do think too much regulation can be bad.

    I think, by definition, “too much” regulation is obviously “bad”.

    The point was, however, that BDP equated “regulation” of any kind to being turning the “regulated” into “civil servants” and determining which product can be sold.

    You leapt to BDP’s defence on this point:
    So no, they have no choice. They either run their businesses the way the federal government tells them to or they go out of business.

    As the point was made, any industry that is subject to any regulation must “run their business the way the federal government tells them to or go out of business”.

    If an auto manufacturer chooses to make cars without required safety features, they will not be able to sell those vehicles on the open market, and they will go out of business.

    Likewise, if I choose to open up a storefront and sell prescription drugs without a pharmacist certification or refuse to require my customers show a valid doctor’s prescription, then I would be put out of business by the government.

    Max’s point, and my own, is that this concept is not really very scary at all.
    You seem to think that the prospect of the health insurance industry being subject to federal regulations is some kind of sinister and unprecedented move. Max and I contend that the same situation exists (and has existed) for quite some time in other industries, and we showed a few “non-scary” examples.

    You, in turn, missed that point completely. You saw the entire argument as a false dichotomy between “too much” regulation and no regulation at all.

    Do you think that requiring auto manufacturers to include certain safety features in the cars that they sell makes them “civil servants”?
    Do you think that these regulations on auto manufacturers is the same thing as setting the price on a vehicle?
    Do you think that these regulations on auto manufacturers is tantamount to telling the industry what product they can produce?

    Those are BDP’s positions, and you apparently defend them by contending that the ACA will put insurers out of business if they don’t sell the product that the evil federal government allows.

    If this remains your position, please explain the fundamental difference between requiring an auto manufacturer to include safety features and the putatively horrible case of requiring insurers to sell policies without exclusions for “pre-existing conditions”.

  76. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    GROG,

    I never said you were pissed. I asked the question after noting a number of regulations that, when they were passed, the business crowd all cried about how it would KILL businesses! Same hymnal you’re sing from now. Wrong then, . . .

    “But I do think too much regulation can be bad.

    So, tell us where you draw the line. How much is “too much”? Can you say, for certain, that we are at or near that point? What kind of additional regulation IS justified? What kind is NOT? Does it follow ideological paths? Give us something concrete.

    We’re STILL waiting on Mule to address the differences between “laissez-faire” and “crony” capitalism? True to form, though, no rational answers are forthcoming.

  77. Todd Dugdale says:

    GROG wrote:
    It’s the left that can’t let the birtherism thing go.

    So Gingrich and Huckabee are part of “the left” now?

    As for Bush, the issue was not that he was personally reviled by the Left, but rather that he had absolutely no credibility.
    When a leader who has no credibility makes his 100th statement that “we’re turning the corner in Iraq”, people dismiss those remarks with disdain. And when the Right calls that disdain “treason”, then it just makes them look crazy.

    There is a crucial distinction between telling an elected official “I don’t believe much of what you say” and telling that same elected official “You are in office illegitimately, you are not a citizen, and I am free to disregard your authority”.

  78. Todd Dugdale says:

    I just bought a new car last year. The salesman did not tell me, “I’d like to sell you this car for $13k, but the federal government requires me to sell it to you for $18k. My hands are tied”.

    I imagine that that car salesman would not consider himself to be a “civil servant”, either. Nor would the butcher who sells federally-inspected meat. Nor would the cashier who rings up someone’s FDA-approved cold medicine. This must be an exceptionally well-kept secret if civil servants do not even know that they are civil servants.

    Aside from that, as MW pointed out, there have been State regulations on health insurers for as long as there has been insurance. Why is State regulation perfectly acceptable and not “socialism”, while Federal regulation is something to be feared and a an obvious example of “socialism”?

    Please don’t fall back into this being an issue of “too much” or “enough” regulation.
    The issue is the fundamentally objectionable nature of Federal regulation versus the non-scary regulation by a State – not the amount of regulation.

  79. mclever says:

    @Todd Dugdale

    To be fair, there were a few on the fringe left who did say of GWB that he was in office illegitimately. A lot of folks were very unhappy about the Supreme Court decision to stop the counting of ballots in Florida. But I think your main point stands. Anger on the left towards Bush was usually directed at his policies and actions rather than him personally. (Iraq War objections, for example.)

    From my perspective, those on the left who hated Bush didn’t have the level of personal hate that we’re seeing so pervasively on the right towards Obama and his family. No significant Democrat of stature was going around saying that the Bush Presidency was illegitimate. No significant Democrats were persistently harmful or cruel towards Laura Bush or the Bush girls. (I’m not counting things like getting busted for underaged drinking at a Tex-Mex place in Austin when we all laughed at their idiocy. We’d do the same if Malia or Sasha got busted.) There were the 5%ers who always dwell in crazyland, but the vast majority of Democrats were very respectful of Laura Bush and the two girls. That’s way different from the 51% that we’re seeing who support the “crazytalk” from the right, including several prominent Republicans who actually up the ante on the crazy, with the Mau Mau Kenyan socialism crap.

  80. Monotreme says:

    Todd asks:

    Why is State regulation perfectly acceptable and not “socialism”, while Federal regulation is something to be feared and a an obvious example of “socialism”?

    Uhm, because state legislatures and state bureaucrats are more easily manipulated by moneyed interests? For example, $13 million bribes to contractors who submit the losing bid? Then trying to cover up the evidence by changing the law?

    http://www.sltrib.com/csp/cms/sites/sltrib/pages/printerfriendly.csp?id=51365118

  81. GROG says:

    Todd said:

    If an auto manufacturer chooses to make cars without required safety features, they will not be able to sell those vehicles on the open market, and they will go out of business.

    My comments were in response to Monotreme’s statement yesterday:

    Insurance companies are still free to sell sub-standard insurance policies to idiots, but those policies won’t meet PPACA standards.

    My point was that they are not free to sell what the government considers to be “sub-standard insurance policies”. If they do they will go out of business.

  82. GROG says:

    fili said:

    It’s (birtherism) a huge problem for Republicans.

    Then what’s the problem? You should love birtherism.

    Maybe that’s why Obama won’t produce an original birth certificate from Hawaii.

  83. GROG,

    My point was that they are not free to sell what the government considers to be “sub-standard insurance policies”. If they do they will go out of business.

    And yet those businesses are literally prohibited from selling certain policies in certain states. Why aren’t you outraged by this?
    And yet those businesses are free to issue what the government considers to be “sub-standard insurance policies.” You assume that they will go out of business if they do so, but here’s why I’m certain that you’re wrong about this:

    An insurance company that issues such policies would not be prohibited from also selling policies that are not “sub-standard.” So they can offer both, and their customers can comparison shop, just as they do today, and can choose ones that result in a penalty, or ones that don’t. It’s like the gas-guzzler tax…plenty of people still bought vehicles with horrid mileage. Those cars were still on the lots, and they were still getting sold. Similarly, the insurance companies won’t go bankrupt by offering the additional options of policies that subject the buyers to penalties.

    And you don’t know whether such policies would end up being more popular than the ones that pass muster with PPACA. How could you, unless you work in the market research department at an insurance company? There’s no publicly available evidence that such policies won’t sell; there’s only speculation.

  84. Maybe that’s why Obama won’t produce an original birth certificate from Hawaii.

    Hmmm…perhaps we have a birther in our midst. Apparently, there’s better than even odds that any given conservative on this site is also a birther.

  85. filistro says:

    @GROG… Then what’s the problem? You should love birtherism.

    I DO love birtherism! Why do you think I keep bringing it up? 🙂

    Seriously, as long as the GOP is going to embrace birtherism… with their primary candidates pandering to it, and their mid-profile pols giving it a wink and a nod, and their high-profile pols refusing to disavow it… then I think Dems should keep shining a light on it at every turn.

    Your opposition shouldn’t be free to tell big lies to fire up their crazy base, and also be allowed to “just keep it in the family.” They should be called on it all the time.

  86. Todd Dugdale says:

    mclever wrote:
    To be fair, there were a few on the fringe left who did say of GWB that he was in office illegitimately.

    I’ll readily concede that. There is a fundamental difference, however, between forming an opinion based on facts (the 2000 election recount was real, the SC ruling was real, Gore’s concession was real) and claiming that the putative lack of evidence is proof in and of itself.

    Nobody denied that the SCOTUS put Bush into office. Nobody screamed “Show me the ruling!”. Some people thought it was unfair, yes, but it was all opinion based on facts. The Party and the candidate (Gore) actively discouraged that belief, too.

    In the case of the “birthers”, there are no facts. There is, instead, an obstinate refusal to accept any facts. The refusal to accept the same document as valid that every American uses to obtain a passport is a denial of facts. The eagerness to embrace an easily-forged Kenyan ‘document’ that lacks any certification – and that cannot be verified by the Kenyan government – is an embrace of non-facts. The idea that one can “know” another’s religious beliefs, despite the individual denying they hold those beliefs, is a dangerous rejection of facts. To assert the existence of a vast conspiracy spanning more than four decades without any evidence – and the assertion that the lack of evidence of this conspiracy is “proof” – is a wholesale rejection of the very idea that facts exist.

    Now, if the Left propounded the idea that there are secret ballot records that prove Gore won, or that there was a secret SC ruling that placed Bush in power, and that the failure of the Bush Administration to produce these secret documents was “proof” that the office was held illegitimately – well, then there would be some kind of equivalence to the “birthers”.

    Instead, you have a fringe insisting that the SCOTUS over-stepped its bounds. Which is virtually identical to the view of the Right that the SCOTUS over-stepped its bounds in Roe v. Wade. In fact, this was the officially-stated position of both the Reagan and Dubya Administrations.

  87. Todd Dugdale says:

    MW wrote:
    So they can offer both, and their customers can comparison shop, just as they do today, and can choose ones that result in a penalty, or ones that don’t.

    Excellent point, and one that I overlooked.

  88. Todd Dugdale says:

    Monotreme wrote:
    Uhm, because state legislatures and state bureaucrats are more easily manipulated by moneyed interests?

    Yes, that much is clear. But there is fundamental disconnect here. States regulating insurance carriers is okay with the Right. Yet, one of their “alternatives” is to completely subvert this by allowing insurers to sell policies across State lines. One State should be able, in this approach, to dictate to all other States what insurance regulations should exist. Such a scenario would be as far-reaching in scope as the ACA, yet this is preferable to the Right. Do we have more faith in the Legislature of an unknown State that is unaccountable to voters in 49 other States than we do in the nationally-elected federal government?

    There is no ideological basis for this position. Instead, it is an embrace for whatever scenario produces the least regulation (and the least protection). You can’t advocate the sacred sovereignty of States, and then present policies that effectively deny influence to those States.

  89. filistro says:

    Maybe that’s why Obama won’t produce an original birth certificate from Hawaii.

    Seriously (if one can actually BE serious about something so ridiculous)… how many people can produce their “original birth certificate?”

    I recall seeing mine as a child… it was a big floppy piece of ivory-colored paper with an ornamental colored border and an embossed official seal, and it always made me feel kind of important to see my name on something so impressive. It was destroyed one year along with all kinds of other photos, documents etc, when the basement flooded at the main ranch house. My mother wrote to the govt. and got a small blue official document that just listed the date and place of my birth, plus a wallet-sized copy that I still carry.

    So how would I ever produce my “original” birth certificate? It turned into topsoil decades ago.

    Maybe I don’t even exist?

  90. GROG says:

    @MW,

    No. I’m not a birther. But there’s a reason Obama won’t produce an original birth certificate and put an end to all the talk. Everyone other American can produce their original birth certificate in about 15 minutes, but the President of the United States can’t? Come on. I’m not buying it.

  91. mclever says:

    GROG,

    Everyone [sic] other American can produce their original birth certificate in about 15 minutes, but the President of the United States can’t?

    Whoa, hold up there, pardner. That’s not true.

    My original birth certificate is held in the courthouse of the county where I was born. I can request a certified copy, which is analogous to the “short form” in Hawaii, but I cannot produce my original birth certificate. No way, no how, it’s impossible. It exists, and I can tell anyone who asks where it exists, but the only thing I can produce is a short-form certified copy. That short-form certified copy has sufficed for me to get a passport, drivers’ license, marriage license, and just about everything else I’ve ever had to do that entailed proving my location of birth.

    Obama has produced the short form of his Hawaii birth certificate as certified by the state, and the public officials in Hawaii have confirmed that his original long form is on file in their courthouse records. That’s the same amount of proof that any other American would normally be able to produce with regard to their own place of birth.

  92. Todd Dugdale says:

    GROG wrote:
    Everyone other American can produce their original birth certificate in about 15 minutes,

    I can’t.
    I had my “long-form” certificate, and I took it with me to get a passport. I was told that the “long form” certificate was not adequate proof, due to the (Republican-sponsored) RealID Act and the Patriot Act. “It’s too easy to forge those,” I was told. I had to get a COLB, like Obama has already produced, to get my passport.

    Since the “long form” certificate was worthless for obtaining anything more important than a library card, I tore it up and threw it out.

    I really have to wonder why the birthers insist on such an easily-forged document as “proof”. Is it so that they can reject it as forged once it is produced, if it even still exists?

  93. mclever says:

    @Todd

    Unfortunately, even if we convinced GROG, that wouldn’t make a dent in the other 51% of Republicans who don’t believe that a Certificate of Live Birth (or short-form certified copy of one’s birth certificate) is sufficient proof of one’s place of birth.

    You’re absolutely right. The hospital-provided long-form certificates aren’t usually accepted by regulating agencies, while the state-certified COLB is.

  94. Todd Dugdale says:

    GROG wrote:
    But there’s a reason Obama won’t produce an original birth certificate and put an end to all the talk.

    And what do think that reason is, as an avowed non-birther?

    If that reason would be anything that would prove he was not born here, then you are a birther.
    If it is something that could prove embarrassing, but not put his citizenship in doubt, then it’s irrelevant to his legitimacy to hold office and you just want to humiliate him. And he’s somehow evil for not handing you a club to beat him over the head with.

    You can’t say that you aren’t a birther, but simultaneously say that you think that Obama won’t produce his “long form” because it proves he isn’t a citizen. That’s kind of the definition of a “birther”, isn’t it?

    So you must be suspicious because he won’t give you documentation of something unrelated to his citizenship that you would use against him.

  95. Grog,
    I can’t. Like filistro, mine was destroyed years ago. I have certified copies, but no original.

  96. filistro says:

    The thing with birthers is… they need to believe Obama is an illegitimate president. And if they are ever shown definitive, irrefutable, ironclad proof that he was born in Hawaii, they will instantly pivot to Plan B which is already in place, gassed up and ready to go.

    Plan B holds that his father was a British citizen and thus subject to the British crown, and because citizenship “passes through the father” (birthers somehow KNOW this…) Baby Obama was also born subject to the British Crown and thus cannot claim sole allegiance to America, which makes him a non-citizen.

    And if THAT fails, Plan C is being polished up out in the wings. Plan C says Lolo Soetero adopted Baby Barack during the Indonesia years and his mother would have needed to revoke her son’s American citizenship in order for this adoption to take place. Plan C has several weaknesses, including the fact that:

    a.) no such adoption is officially recorded anywhere
    b.) a child’s legal citizenship cannot be revoked by his parents, this must be done by the child himself after he reaches the age of majority

    So it’s a pretty weak nag, but the Birthers will ride it if they have to. Anything to keep from ever having to admit Barack Obama is just as purely American as they are.

  97. GROG says:

    @MW,

    But there is an original of Obama’s birth certificate in Hawaii. If he was interested in putting an end to birtherism, he would produce the original. The reason I don’t think he wants to do that goes back to Fili’s earlier statements. He may think the birtherism thing is bad for the GOP and he wants to keep the issue alive.

    You and Fili and others may not be able to produce your original bc, but Obama can.

  98. Mr. Universe says:

    Wonder how many birthers would vote for Ahnold if he were allowed to run for Prez?

  99. Grog,
    You should know by now that producing such a document would not put an end to it. If an announcement from a newspaper over four decades old doesn’t do it, a video of his birth with irrefutable evidence on the video wouldn’t do it, let alone a document that could be forged.

  100. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    Approximately 4 hours ago, I requested from GROG his definition of “too much” regulation, and a couple other questions. Todd had also asked GROG for certain specifics.

    In the past four hours, GROG has commented a half dozen times or so and deflected to birtherism, but has NOT given any specifics on regulations.

    GROG, is it any wonder you get flogged like a stolen mule?

    (Bet GROG claims that, since I, and I guess Todd as well, have no credibility or no knowledge of the world around us, that he has no need to answer reasonable question.)

    As my old man used to tell people “At least ACT as though you have good sense!”

  101. dcpetterson says:

    @Todd Dougdale

    GROG wrote:
    “It’s the left that can’t let the birtherism thing go.”

    So Gingrich and Huckabee are part of “the left” now?

    No, you see, the problem is that the Left keeps pointing out whenever the conservatives try to use this slander to raise money and excite their base. We “can’t let it go” in the sense that won’t let them get away with it. We insist on bringing it to the public’s attention that Republican presidential candidates are telling racist lies. Why, if we would only “let it go,” the GOP would be free to convince all of America that Obama is a socialite muslin from Kanye, and the Republicans would run away with the 2012 election!

  102. dcpetterson says:

    GROG, you know very well the reason Obama won’t produce his “long form” birth certificate. We’ve been over it before. You’ve been told before. You’ve read it many times, I recall discussing this more than once at the old FiveThirtyEight.

    Hawaii doesn’t release the “long form.” For anybody. Period.

    President Obama has no power to either compel or prevent Hawaii from releasing or withholding that document. These are Hawaiian laws. (And if Obama did attempt to strong-arm them into something, wouldn’t the Tenth Amendment fetishists go kind of crazy?)

    So stop with the insane innuendo. It’s not his decision. It is the law of the State of Hawaii.

  103. Mule Rider says:

    “We’re STILL waiting on Mule to address the differences between “laissez-faire” and “crony” capitalism? True to form, though, no rational answers are forthcoming.”

    I was waiting on your dumb ass to first explain how the shenanigans of Bernie Madoff were representative of capitalism and Jesus’ teachings have socialist tendencies – two things you’ve asserted – before I even think about wasting my time explaining anything that you are probably either too ignorant or too stubborn to understand.

  104. shortchain says:

    Mule,

    Perhaps you should do some research and learn what many experts have said about the religion you purport to follow.

    The LDS, in its early years, was organized largely along the lines of a commune. Ditto the Mennonites and now the Hutterites, who are a lot more fundamentalist than all you cafeteria christians.

    Of course, it’s even beyond that — the early church was more an end-times cult. As such, it was unquestionably opposed to inherited wealth.

  105. Todd Dugdale says:

    According to this, it looks pretty clear that Obama’s original BC exists.

    Fukino said she and the registrar of vital statistics, Alvin Onaka, have personally verified that the health department holds Obama’s original birth certificate.

    “Therefore, I as Director of Health for the State of Hawai‘i, along with the Registrar of Vital Statistics who has statutory authority to oversee and maintain these type of vital records, have personally seen and verified that the Hawai‘i State Department of Health has Sen. Obama’s original birth certificate on record in accordance with state policies and procedures,” Fukino said.

    This means that he was born in Hawaii. And if that is the case, he is a citizen. He can’t “also” have been born in Kenya. That official statement, along with the COLB, should really put the matter to rest. But that statement from Fukino was made in 10/08 – more than two years ago – and it hasn’t settled anything.

    That’s more proof than some of here have of our own births. It should be sufficient for any reasonable person, so this idea that Obama is trying to drive the Right crazy is sheer fantasy.

  106. Mule Rider says:

    “Perhaps you should do some research and learn what many experts have said about the religion you purport to follow.”

    I know damn well what I’m talking about and all I’m asking is that someone make the link between “Jesus’ teachings” and “socialist tendencies.” That’s what Max ASSERTED the other day. He didn’t say anything about the early Christian church and how they behaved or Christians from ANY OTHER ERA (many of whom reacted in a very twisted manner to Jesus’ teachings); he talked specifically about what Jesus taught, and all I’m doing is asking for clarification. So far, that explanation – and yours – has been an epic failure.

  107. filistro says:

    @Todd.. That’s more proof than some of here have of our own births. It should be sufficient for any reasonable person, so this idea that Obama is trying to drive the Right crazy is sheer fantasy.

    Yes, it’s fantasy. Moreover, the birthers are saying to the president of the United States, the Hawaiian Registrar of Vital Statistics, the Hawaiian Director of Health and the Republican Governor of Hawaii, Linda Lingle, who also confirms the existence of Obama’s Hawaiian birth certificate… they are saying to all four of these people… “We think all of you are lying. Prove to us you’re not.”

    To which the only reasonable response is… “Well, we think all of you are crazy. Go pound sand.”

  108. dcpetterson says:

    Mule, apparently you don’t actually know the difference between “laissez-faire capitalism” and “crony capitalism”. It’s a handy right wing talking point, used to merely insist that America has never actually tried “true capitalism”, which allows the wingers to say our problems are due to us not having gone batsh!t enough.

    It’s related to the “true Scotsman” idea. None of America’s problems can possibly be related to any “failure of capitalism,” because we’ve never actually tried “true capitalism.” (We know we’ve never tried “true capitalism,” because our economy has problems; and “true capitalism” can’t possibly cause problems. QED.) What we have to do is get rid of more regulations and lower taxes further on businesses on the wealthy. Only then will we have actually tried capitalism.

    No true Scotsman would believe America has ever tried true capitalism.

  109. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    Mule,

    I WAS NOT the one who asked you for your clarification between “crony” and “pure” capitalism, that was fili and dc. So quit lying by implying that it was me. I just “wondered” if you WERE going to respond to them.

    That’s a fine diversion, though. You STILL swing and miss, and make yourself the ass in doing so. And you STILL haven’t answered THEIR question!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I don’t understand your cowardice.

    I presume that you wish me to do so based on your indirect statement. So, since it’s so important to you, I’ll be glad to do so. But, BTW,

    You never asked me to expound on my assertions on Jesus and socialism, and Madoff’s “representative of capitalism”. Your statement (not a question) on the matter was that I didn’t know what I was talking about (paraphrased). I just went back and reviewed the whole thread, that’s the case.

    I am going to demur on the Jesus answer until AFTER you have fully answered, along with any follow-ups, dc and fili. If you’re impatient or don’t like that, tough. You meet your own test and I WILL follow through with my promise to you and the blog.

    I put your statement “representative of capitalism” in quotes because that IS NOT WHAT I SAID! Here’s the exact comment:

    Max aka Birdpilot says:
    March 12, 2011 at 17:44
    Oh my!

    I just realized that YOU differentiate between companies who try to kill YOU versus those who try to kill your bank account.

    And that you don’t think that “We the People” should differentiate either.

    Guess you’re really, really pissed that Madoff is in jail, then.

    As you see, the conversation was in the context of GROG’s and my differences on regulation. Where GROG was justifying “health and safety” regs but denouncing minimum insurance standards. He appeared to be pooh-poohing regs that, as I said “those who try to kill your bank account, ie: those that set minimum performance standards for companies in the marketplace, creating a level playing field and making sure a person got value for their money.

    The thing of why there are regulations against a Ponzi scheme, or any pyramid scheme, is the seemingly excellent ROI for the initial investors. And that can continue as long a new investors crop up or the whole, as in Madoff’s case, goes to hell. But when that happens, no matter that you may have been the early bird, and made off (OK, so shoot me) with a tidy return, the regulations are there to stop the whole pyramid from even being built.

    Caveat emptor just is NOT good enough. And the corporate world will always chafe against regulation, because in a “free marketplace” the buyer SHOULD do their homework. But with advertising and some sleight-of-hand, the buyer CAN end up screwed.

    Regs try to hold that to a minimum. And throw bums like Madoff in jail!

    Your turn!

  110. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    that was supposed to read

    . . . the whole economy, as in . . .

  111. shortchain says:

    Mule,

    When you say “I know damn well what I’m talking about” — you do realize that it is not apparent to anybody else, right?

  112. Number Seven says:

    Just a quick question: isn’t the definition of capitalist someone who makes money off of money (capital)? If this is thru, the only capitalists in the us are the banksters.

  113. GROG says:

    DC said:

    Hawaii doesn’t release the “long form.” For anybody. Period.

    Just for clarification, do you have a source for that?

  114. Mr. Universe says:

    @GROG

    I sourced it a long time ago. I found it on the Hawai’i.gov website. I believe the statute reads that the ‘State of Hawai’i does not release personal records to anyone without a compelling interest’. or words to that effect. It’s a privacy thing. I’m not going to dig this up every time somebody cries ‘Where’s the Birth Certificate!’

    It’s been fifteen or so years since I read the Bible in its entirety but anyone who cannot see comparisons with the teachings (alleged) of Jesus and socialism

    A. does not know what socialism is or
    B. has not read the Bible
    C. all of the above

    I’m going with C.

  115. GROG says:

    I know how the statute reads.

    “State law prohibits the DOH from disclosing any vital statistics records or information contained in such records unless the requestor has a direct and tangible interest in the record, or as otherwise allowed by statute or administrative rule.”

    I’d like to know where Hawaii law states it doesn’t release the “long form” to anyone.

  116. dcpetterson says:

    GROG:

    DC said:
    “Hawaii doesn’t release the “long form.” For anybody. Period.”
    Just for clarification, do you have a source for that?

    Take a look at FactCheck.org, the applicable article is here:
    “The Hawaii Department of Health’s birth record request form does not give the option to request a photocopy of your long-form birth certificate…”

    This aspect has certainly been widely covered, and is not in dispute.

    Now, you will stop asking why Obama does not produce the long form, right?

  117. mostlyilurk says:

    I’m wondering if anyone knows which other U.S. Presidents have been required to produce their original long-form birth certificates.

    Oh, and, for the record and for what it’s worth, add me to the list of Americans who wouldn’t be able to produce my long-form birth certificate in “fifteen minutes” lol.

  118. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    GROG is simply being obtuse.

    He tramples on old ground, beating on that long dead horse, even HE know’s is dead, perhaps thinking his persistence garners him points, instead of ridicule. He has nothing left.

    He can’t even start to define “too much” regulation or show the difference between “left wing regs bad, right wing regs good”, so he hopes his diversion and persistence will make us forget.

    Your turn, Mule. Still waiting. Or you can always do the winger fall back position of diversion and/or insult.

  119. GROG says:

    So the lack of an option to request the long form on The Hawaii Department of Health’s birth record request form indicates to you that Hawaii law states they do not release the original long form to anyone? Period?

    DC said: It is the law of the State of Hawaii.

    I’m asking you to source that law you referred to. It should be pretty simple to find.

  120. Mule Rider says:

    “Your turn, Mule. Still waiting. Or you can always do the winger fall back position of diversion and/or insult.”

    You made your assertion before I made mine. So why don’t you clarify which of Jesus’ teachings lines up with “socialist tendencies” before I engage in a thesis about capitalism, m’kay?

    For those who asked a while back for it to be pointed out when conservative arguments and viewpoints are treated unfairly vis a vis demands for evidence to back up assertions and all that jazz – because they just couldn’t believe it ever happens here – well here ya go.

    Max made a point a couple of days ago about Jesus’ teachings lining up with “socialist tendencies” and I’ve asked him to explain himself. He hasn’t done so and has engaged in one of his typical tantrums with meaningless deflection and blather. No one else has called him to task to explain himself and so it goes unchallenged by the left-wing peanut gallery. I, on the other hand, have at least 2-3 people hounding me about a lesson in capitalism – knowing damn well they’ll ignore any evidence I offer that crushes their dim worldview – and yet that’s okay while Max gets a free pass.

    So freaking typical of this disgusting little echo chamber.

    Again, you explain yourself FIRST, Max, since you were the one who first made an ASSertion that was challenged. And after you’re done making an even bigger ass of yourself, I might consider giving you incompetent mouth-breathers a lesson in capitalism.

  121. GROG says:

    Mr. U,

    It is absolutely true that Jesus fed the poor, healed the sick, and promoted charity, generosity, and brotherly love.

    But no where in the Bible does it suggest that Jesus believed in taking offerings from the people and handing it over to a civil government for redistribution to those in need.

    Where does the Bible say “The way to care for the poor is for the government to confiscate wealth through taxes and redistribute it to the needy”?

    From Dictionary.com
    “Socialism:
    Any of various theories or systems of social organization in which the means of producing and distributing goods is owned collectively or by a centralized government that often plans and controls the economy.”

    Where does the Bible teach that a centralized government should be the means to control and plan the economy?

  122. Mr. Universe says:

    It should be pretty simple to find.

    THEN GO FIND IT!

    I’m not your damn research assistant. Nor am I the one with the issue about it. That burden is on you.

    This argument is over. The President is an American citizen. Deal with it.

  123. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    Mule,

    “Or you can always do the winger fall back position of diversion and/or insult.

    Look familiar. Nailed it, didn’t I?

    Anyway, I gave you what you asked for on the Madoff. I told you when you would get the “Jesus” half. I keep my promises.

    Please copy and paste the times you have asked for me to clarify the “Jesus and socialism” assertions, just to see if they actually exist prior to the 16:15 today “I was waiting on your dumb ass to first explain . . . “. Especially, since you STILL are doing the same old, same old winger tactic of assert, divert, insult ad nauseum.

    The rest of your last comment was just “poor lil me”.

  124. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    GROG,

    I’ll tell you when I post my comments after Mule gives us a lesson in capitalism.

    BTW, How much is too much regulation and what’s the difference between right wing regs and left wing regs?

    Or are you still looking that one up?

  125. GROG says:

    Mr. U,

    I know without question that he’s an American citizen. I’ve said that several times on this thread. I’m not a birther. You’ve apparently missed most of the discussion.

    THEN GO FIND IT!

    I CAN’T FIND IT!

    That’s why I asked DC to source it. He’s the one who claims it’s Hawaii law. Not me.

  126. mclever says:

    “I asked you first.”
    “Nuh uh, I asked you first.”
    “Did not.”
    “Did too.”
    “Meanie.”
    “Whiner.”

    Seriously guys? I’m sure you all can do better than that.

  127. Monotreme says:

    Mule Rider said:

    For those who asked a while back for it to be pointed out when conservative arguments and viewpoints are treated unfairly vis a vis demands for evidence to back up assertions and all that jazz – because they just couldn’t believe it ever happens here – well here ya go.

    I was one of those people.

    I’m not going to wade into this discussion because I’ve read — and re-read many times — the Gospel and it’s pretty much silent on economic systems which did not yet exist at the time it was written.

    Plus, I don’t read Aramaic and I am not a Levantine scholar.

    However, you shouldn’t assume that my silence is agreement with one side, or the other. I’m simply not interested in arguing about what Jesus did or did not say because I don’t think either one of you know. It’s like arguing over what flavor ice cream Jesus preferred.

    I also don’t see where this is evidence of any particular “bias”. Just because someone’s not interested in your argument, doesn’t mean they’re biased. On the contrary.

  128. Monotreme says:

    mostlyilurk asks:

    I’m wondering if anyone knows which other U.S. Presidents have been required to produce their original long-form birth certificates.

    Chester Arthur.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizenship_requirements_for_President_of_the_United_States
    http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/1208/Impeach_Chester_Arthur.html

  129. mclever says:

    As Monotreme said:

    However, you shouldn’t assume that my silence is agreement with one side, or the other. I’m simply not interested in arguing about what Jesus did or did not say because I don’t think either one of you know.

    and:

    Just because someone’s not interested in your argument, doesn’t mean they’re biased.

    I don’t like playing referee in schoolyard squabbles. I did enough of that in my prior job… 😉

  130. GROG says:

    Mr. U said:

    I’m not your damn research assistant. Nor am I the one with the issue about it. That burden is on you.

    I didn’t ask you to research anything. The burden is on me to prove something that DC said? Where is this coming from?

  131. mclever says:

    GROG:

    A Yahoo search of “Hawaii Birth Certificate Laws” came back with this page:

    http://hawaii.gov/health/vital-records/obama.html

    “State law prohibits the DOH from disclosing any vital statistics records or information contained in such records unless the requestor has a direct and tangible interest in the record, or as otherwise allowed by statute or administrative rule. See HRS §338-18. Direct and tangible interest is determined by HRS §338-18(b).”

    Seems plain enough.

  132. Mule Rider says:

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the matter, Monotreme.

  133. GROG says:

    Yes, and it could certainly be argued that the President “has a direct and tangible interest” in his own birth certificate.

  134. dcpetterson says:

    So, GROG, you complained that “the left” is keeping the birther issue alive — then you do your best to keep it alive. 🙂

    Here’s all you ever want to know about what records Hawaii does and does not release, when, and under what conditions. From the State of Hawaii.
    http://hawaii.gov/health/vital-records/obama.html

    You go interpret the laws any way you want. If you’re unhappy about the birther issue being kept alive, go complain to FOX and to the Freepers 🙂 and stop spreading the birther idiocy yourself.

  135. dcpetterson says:

    Ah, GROG, I see mclever already linked you to the Hawaii site. Very good.

    Yes, Obama has a direct and vital interest in his birth certificate. That’s why they sent him the certified copy which is suitable for any and every governmental purpose. Duh. They don’t give out the “long form.” Go ahead and request one yourself, if you want to see it.

    Are you finished keeping the birther issue alive? 🙂

  136. I’m still confused about one thing. If the point of showing the “long form” is to stop the birthers, then does that mean that they would be more trusting of this document than they would newspaper articles that predate Obama’s candidacy by decades? And, if so, why would they?

  137. GROG says:

    DC said: Are you finished keeping the birther issue alive?

    The topic of this thread is birtherism. This is not my blog nor did I write the article.

    I do however, have a hard time believing that if President Barack Obama requested the original long form of his own birth certificate, that the State of Hawaii would not comply. And I don’t believe the President would be trampling on the Tenth Amendment if he did so. And I do not believe the President or the State of Hawaii would be breaking any laws if they did so. It may be a state policy to issue to certified copies because of administrative reasons, but it is not against the law to pull the original out of the filing cabinet.

  138. filistro says:

    GROG… if birthers do not believe the testimony of the Hawaiian Registrar of Vital Statistics, the Hawaiian Director of Health and the Republican Governor of Hawaii, all of whom confirm they have seen the “long form” certificate… do you really think they would believe in the authenticity of any document shown to them?

    When first asked to do so, the president PRODUCED his birth certificate… the same one used by all American citizens to get passports or other documents… the same one confirmed by all the officials above to match the one stored in Hawaii’s official records. It was instantly dismissed by the birthers as a forgery. Why would he produce another one? What would be the purpose of doing so?

  139. Mr. Universe says:

    In legal parlance, GROG, this has been asked and answered. You can’t double dog dare on something that’s already been settled. There is no ‘Here’ here. Stop barking.

  140. GROG says:

    Some contributors here (Fili in particular) claim to want more conservative commenters on this blog. This is why you have a difficult time attracting them and keeping them.

    1) I, as a conservative, give my opionion on the topic of this thread and I’m told by Mr. Universe, “This argument is over. The President is an American citizen. Deal with it.” (Note: I said several times earlier that I do not question that the President in an American citizen.)

    2) Mr. U said, I’m not your damn research assistant.
    I never asked him to research anything.

    3) Mr. U said, THEN GO FIND IT! That burden is on you.
    Apparently, on this blog, the burden of proof is on the conservative to prove something that a progressive commenter (DC Petterson in this case) claims.

    4) Mr. U said, Stop barking.
    Conservatives on this blog are not allowed to discuss the topic or respond to progessive commenters about the very topic of the thread. They are instructed to “stop barking”.

    5) DC said, Are you finished keeping the birther issue alive?
    Birterism is the actual topic written by a progressive contributor, yet the conservative is accused of keeping the issue alive.

    6) Max aka Birdpilot said, GROG, is it any wonder you get flogged like a stolen mule?

    Is that why you want to attract more conservatives to this site? So you can flog them like a stolen mule?

  141. Mule Rider says:

    Excellent points, GROG!

    And, yes, it’s almost comical when they act as if they yearn for more conservative contributors. Well, they might, but it’s certainly not to engage in “reasonable political discourse.”

    Outside of only 3-4 individuals (I won’t name names), it’s getting pretty tough to engage in any honest and decent back-and-forth…..

    This is the trouble when you hang out on the fringe too long….you start believing the half-baked crap you come up with and get even nuttier. I’m afraid it’s just too late for some of the regulars here. They’ve just up and gone off the deep end.

  142. GROG says:

    Outside of only 3-4 individuals (I won’t name names),

    I know who you mean and it’s a shame the others have to ruin it for those 3-4 individuals.

  143. mclever says:

    GROG,

    I would suggest that the topic of this thread was not “birtherism” specifically, which you have already admitted that you do not put any stock in. Instead, I would suggest that the topic was the appeals to the base being made by a pair of likely Republican Presidential candidates and other high-profile Republicans. The anti-Muslim hearings were also mentioned.

    Yes, one of those base appeals was an extension of the “birther” controversy, but Mr. Huckabee and Mr. Gingrich weren’t asking for a birth certificate. They took birtherism to an entirely new frontier by stating as if fact that Obama had been raised in Kenya which is contrary to ALL factual evidence about Obama’s actual upbringing, mostly in Hawaii with a few early years in Indonesia. They then threw in heavy doses of speculation about Mau Mau uprisings and colonial angst.

    Given that the false birther conspiracy should have died out long ago, why do you think otherwise intelligent Republicans like Gingrich and Huckabee would be spreading such obvious misinformation?

    And, don’t make me pull up the Hawaii page on Obama again. They’ve supplied the state-certified birth documents numerous times and have confirmed that the original “long form” birth record is on file. They’re so overtaxed with responding to repetitive calls for Obama’s birth certificate that they passed a law specifically allowing them to ignore further inquiries. The issue should be dead.

    So, why are Republican hopefuls upping the ante on the issue?

  144. filistro says:

    @mac… that’s a fair and (as always) intelligent presentation of fact. You’re right, I wasn’t particularly interested in the “birther” issue per se… I was more engaged by in the peculiar dynamics of the Republican primary process, wherein the most radical fringe of the party must be appealed to so strongly in the election of their presidential candidate.

    I find this specific primary especially fascinating. Ron Brownstein said this morning that it’s historic, in that there has never been a presidential election in which, by this date, the Republicans did not have at least one candidate who garnered at least 30% of the vote. Now nobody is even close to that. So what do these hoepfuls do? They swing hard toward the crazy wing.

    I think, however, that GROG and Muley also aren’t complaining about the birther argument itself. They are complaining about how they, personally, have been treated in the course of the discussion.

    Whether or not they have a valid point I leave up to the consensus of the community.

    Do you all think conservatives are treated badly at this site? Are they victimized by a “piling on” group behavior… or are they justly smacked down for presenting weak and contradictory arguments and then complaining when called on it? I actually think the former may be closest to the truth.. but lots of people will probably have valid reasons to claim the latter, too.

    It would probably be instructive to look around at other sites and see how liberals are treated at conservative sites when they present and argue a minority viewpoint. Unfortunately I can’t do that…. because I can’t find any conservative sites where liberals are welcome to take part in the discussion.

  145. GROG says:

    So, why are Republican hopefuls upping the ante on the issue?

    I have no idea. Huckabee and Gingrich are dinosaurs in the Republican Party. I would sure hope they have chance of winning the nomination. They are not the future of nor the they speak for the GOP.

    Regarding the topic of the thread, my point was that Obama and the left do not want the issue to die. They very much want it to live. That’s why this blog discusses birtherism more often than things like unemployment, or poverty levels, teen pregnancy rates, and drug use in inner cities, or the national debt, or the quality of public education……..

  146. Mr. Universe says:

    @GROG

    You can comment all you want but if all you’re going to do is repeatedly harp on the birther thing after having been repeatedly given the information necessary to settle the matter, then I’m just going to talk 24/7 about Bush stealing the 2000 election or how Bush lied to take us into Iraq.

    All air through the engines.

    Spare me the victim act. You were goading us. Expect appropriate response.

  147. filistro says:

    @GROG.. That’s why this blog discusses birtherism more often than things like unemployment, or poverty levels, teen pregnancy rates, and drug use in inner cities, or the national debt, or the quality of public education……..

    I don’t think that’s true. There are five bloggers at this site, plus assorted guest writers. As far as I can recall, I’m the only one who’s ever brought up birtherism, and I do so because I’m the one who studies and discusses right-wing fringe issues.

    Everybody else writes about things like “unemployment, or poverty levels, teen pregnancy rates, and drug use in inner cities, or the national debt, or the quality of public education……..”

    I think you are probably just more aware of the birther discussions because, to any serious Republican, they are painfully embarrassing. And they should be.

  148. mclever says:

    @filistro

    I agree that there is sometimes some “piling on” and occasionally legitimate “smacking down” of unsubstantiated silliness. The “piling on” aspect is why I sometimes refrain from beating the bloody pulp that might have once been a horse.

    However, I do think folks in here will give reasonable respect to contrary opinions if they are cogently offered. We all like to argue (even amongst those of us on the same “side”), so many of us will challenge any weakness that we see. I would hope that folks don’t take offense by those challenges but rather see them as opportunities to explain their reasoning in a well-substantiated fashion.

    Of course, sometimes there isn’t a “right” answer, so the best we can do is explain why we see things differently.

  149. mclever says:

    @GROG

    It may *seem* like we talk about birtherism in here a lot, but any quantitative analysis of the articles should quickly settle that impression. It seems to me that economic issues have gotten much more attention from our esteemed contributors. Anyone got good search-n-count software that can do the analysis for us?

    You’ve said before that you think it’s the lefties that keep bringing up birtherism, but that’s absurdly false. No one on the left made Huckabee to go on the radio and talk about Obama’s “Kenyan upbringing” even though he never visited that country until he was in his 20s. No one on the left made Gingrich tell the National Review that Obama had a Kenyan/anti-colonial view due to his absent father’s influence. Those are examples of prominent (not fringe) Republicans raising the issue publicly and recently. These two Presidential hopefuls didn’t just nod at the “show us the birth certificate” question to poke at Obama’s legitimacy, but they both expressed views based on the false premise of Obama’s birth and childhood in Kenya. They proceeded as if the lies were settled fact.

    The same nonsense came up during the recent candidates’ forum here in Iowa, where the Republicans on the panel were almost tripping over themselves to dance to the birther music among other appeals to “crazy.” It’s become so commonplace and accepted, that it barely got notice in the (liberal paper’s) write-up.

    That to me is extraordinary. Regardless of the issue. As filistro noted, the same thing is going on with the anti-Muslim hearings and with a whole host of other issues where the fringe position is being accepted as the starting point and any contrary, factual evidence is simply swept under the rug and ignored in the effort to pander to the irrational base. In 2008, I was pretty annoyed at some of the messages in the McCain campaign, especially after Palin joined, but McCain gained a lot of my respect when he flat-out denied the crazy lady who said Obama was a Muslim. He could have handled it more adroitly, but I appreciated the honest fluster and look of “Huh, what? You’re crazy!” when he tried to politely dismiss her insanity about Obama.

    So, I’ve gotta ask, where are the sane Republican leaders now? And why aren’t they out there prominently cutting off this nonsense at the knees? Are they so beholden to political expediency? (To be fair, there have been a few conservative columnists express their displeasure, but they aren’t sufficiently prominent to slow the runaway crazy train.)

  150. Mule Rider says:

    “I agree that there is sometimes some “piling on” and occasionally legitimate “smacking down” of unsubstantiated silliness.”

    Here’s the crux of my most recent problem, which is linked to a couple of statements related to capitalism/socialism, Jesus, and Bernie Madoff, and I’ll put in the form of an analogy so the reader can better understand.

    If GROG or I had said Jesus’ teachings had “capitalist tendencies” (which I don’t believe and I’m pretty sure GROG doesn’t either, but just for the sake of argument and the example), we would have been rightly called on it and asked to explain the link between the two by quoting things – likely from the Bible – that supported our viewpoint. If we would’ve then responded with an answer that amounted to nothing more than a “Well isn’t it obvious?!” (as Mr. U did above) or a deflection/tantrum and demand for someone to back something else they said before we first gave our answer (as Max did), we’d be roundly excoriated and rightly so.

    All we’re (or at least I’m) asking is that a fuller explanation be given that backs up the argument (that Jesus’ teachings had ‘socialist tendencies’) or a an admittance of wrong and a retraction or at least an acknowledgement that it was more hyperbole/platitude and not based on any kind of supporting evidence. Instead, they completely clam up and we’re the ones made out to be the bad guys. Like I said, in the above analogy, we’d be the bad guys in that situation as well.

    I think what GROG and I are getting at is it’s tiresome to be the bad guys in the argument no matter what, especially when some of these guys violate the very same rules that they jam in our face constantly. The double-standard is a real knock on the credibility of some of the members here.

    It goes back to the idea that if you’re just going to smack down dissenting thought and not play by the rules that you claim are in place for everyone (i.e. maintain an echo chamber), then fine, just admit what this is – a place for a left-wing circle jerk – and let’s move on, but let’s quit pretending it’s a place for ‘reasonable political discourse’ where conservatives are welcomed and encouraged to participate and an honest debate is always underway in which the rules are applied fairly.

    Instead, let’s just all assume our roles. You guys can represent the “professional” or “fringe” or “compassionate” left or whatever label you want for yourself, and GROG, myself, rgbact, and others can just be the ‘conservatroll’ punching-bags that you love to shout down and make yourself feel good and sleep well at night. I’m fine playing that role as I’m tired of pretending otherwise.

  151. Pingback: It’s a Day in Pictures! « A Feather Adrift

  152. filistro says:

    LOL… I clicked on the pingback just above and laughed out loud at the cartoons.

    My (perhaps all-time) fave …

    Palin/Bachmann 2012
    It’s a NO-BRAINER!!

  153. Mule,
    You bring up a fair point. There wasn’t enough backing of the Jesus-as-socialist concept.

    At the same time, for that to devolve into the “I’m not going to answer your question until you answer my (unrelated) question first,” is playground silliness. It’s different from the perfectly acceptable, and similar looking, case where the answer to the second question is fully dependent upon the answer to the first (e.g., in order to discuss whether or not Jesus was a socialist, it’s important to have an agreed-upon definition for “socialist”).

    And, since we’re on that topic…the ends of helping the less fortunate with the resources of the more fortunate is where the political construct of socialism and the teachings of Jesus overlap. At least, that’s my (admittedly layman’s) understanding of his teachings.

  154. GROG says:

    Mr. U calls me a jerk. I call him a class act. He takes my posts down.

    @Mule Rider,

    Could you imagine if you or I told one of progressive commenters that the burden of proof was on them to back up a claim that you or I made? That’s what Mr. U did and not a word from anyone.

    Or if I told Filistro, “I’m not your research assistant!” when Filistro had never requested any research from me? Not a word from anyone.

    Your “Jesus is a socialist” example is a perfect one. Mr. U claims if you don’t think Jesus was a socialist then you don’t know what socialism or you have never read the Bible. That’s what he had to back up his claim. Not a word from anyone.

  155. mclever says:

    @Mule

    I think some of those “disconnect” moments happen when one of the posters on here says something that he or she considers to be common knowledge amongst educated people and therefore doesn’t expect to have to back it up. To them, it’s like they’re saying that gravity is about 9.8 m/s and you’re saying “prove it!” For most people with similar ideological and/or educational backgrounds, they’re not likely to challenge something that they already see as a settled matter. But someone accustomed to using 10 m/s as a shorthand for G might need a little more proof before trusting that it’s really 9.8.

    The key to understanding (on both sides) is recognizing that in politics, many of those “assumed truths” are not universally shared. Not because they are necessarily right or wrong, but because not everyone is exposed to the same idea set, which is part of why we have such different world views.

    An example might be the idea that being Christian is good. For most of us here, I’d venture that it is reasonable to assume that even if we aren’t believers, we might generally equate professing religious beliefs with having high moral ideals. (By no means am I suggesting that Christians have an exclusive claim to “high” moral ideals, but that’s an entirely separate point.) However, there are some people who explicitly equate Christianity with crusades, corruption and irrationality. (Bill Maher comes to mind, though he’s not the most extreme example of this.) Some people have the exact opposite association of Christian = bad rather than good. If we don’t recognize the contrary assumptions, then it’s easy to see how misunderstandings occur.

    So, it’s illuminating to me when you or GROG (or parksie or msgkings or any of the others here) call out another regular on a a given point, because it reminds me that I’m making assumptions, too. You all come from a different set of expectations and a different set of accepted understandings. If you are expressing a minority viewpoint, your assumptions are more likely to be contrary to what everyone else expects, which will get more challenges. That’s why they ask for things like clarification on what is meant by “crony” capitalism or “too much” regulation.

    It may seem like these should be common knowledge to you, but trust me that to some of us here, those concepts require clarification to make sure we’re all talking about the same thing. And, that goes for both sides. When a conservative challenges a liberal’s assumptions, it would serve all of us well to remember that they are also coming to these questions with a different set of assumptions. If we *aren’t* willing to explore those assumptions and work towards understanding each other, then we will continue to just shout playground taunts past each other with no real progress.

  156. mclever,
    I put the tag cloud back on the right column (bottom of the column) to show what we’ve really been spending our time talking about in the articles. It matches my expectations. Note that “birther” is sufficiently small as to be literally invisible in the cloud. There were only two articles that had birtherism as even a subtopic. Three if you really want to go out on a limb and include the one article that introduced the Conspiracy Series and listed birtherism as one such conspiracy that might be discussed in a future article.

    I also did a few searches, and turned up one additional reference. It was an article about Gingrich that filistro wrote last fall, and mentioned it in a similar context to this article.

    I’d hardly call that a heavy rotation of birtherism. Union topics are much more represented. Probably the most frequent airplay comes from Tea Party absurdities (where was that “shot heard ’round the world,” again?), which are sort of the Charlie Sheen of politics: generates a lot of traffic and discussion, and it’s sort of like a car accident that you can’t help but look at.

  157. Mr. U calls me a jerk. I call him a class act. He takes my posts down.

    No. I did. I took his down, too, but you didn’t notice that. I’m trying to take this discussion down a couple of notches.

  158. mclever,
    Shame on you! Gravity is not 9.8m/s or any other number with that unit. Gravity is a (roughly constant) force (over small distances from the surface of Earth), and therefore causes acceleration, not speed. The acceleration is roughly 9.8m/s/s, or 9.8m/s².

    😛

  159. mclever says:

    @Michael

    Thanks for posting the tag cloud. It mostly fits with my expectations, though I have to add all of the various economic topics together to get there. It’s not surprising that a political site spends a lot of time on Barack Obama, considering that he is the President. We also apparently talk a lot about Nate, Newt, and Congress. Newt’s a surprise, but the rest isn’t, considering the origins of this blog.

    I like your analogy of the Tea Party absurdities to Charlie Sheen.
    🙂

  160. mclever says:

    @Michael

    Whip me with a wet noodle! I couldn’t figure out how to do the superscript 2!!

    LOL

  161. Monotreme says:

    GROG said,

    That’s why this blog discusses birtherism more often than things like unemployment, or poverty levels, teen pregnancy rates, and drug use in inner cities, or the national debt, or the quality of public education……..

    I wish you’d go here and make a comment. We missed you when this was posted last week. (Not a criticism, because we all have lives and other things to attend to.) I value your input.

  162. Monotreme says:

    @mac,

    It’s <sup> to open and </sup> to close.

  163. mclever says:

    Thanks, Monotreme!

    Now, let’s just hope I can remember that for the next time I venture out of my comfort sphere and attempt pseudo-mathematical notation on a political blog. 😉

  164. Mr. Universe says:

    I apologize, GROG, for snapping at you. As usual, mclever states it much more eloquently than I.

  165. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    Michael,

    Please note the following:

    (In response to Barts 1st comment on this thread @ 0802, 3/12)
    Max aka Birdpilot says:
    March 12, 2011 at 09:02
    George Washington was a fierce anti-colonialist. As was Gandhi.
    Martin Luther King was quite proud to be black.
    Jesus preached and showed severe socialist tendencies. (Loaves and fishes(1). “Easier for a rich man to pass through the eye of a needle . . .”(2), “Give to him that asks you . . .”(3), “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth . . .(4)”, etc)

    I believe we, and even you Bart, still find them to be quality mentors and not the “crazies” you speak of.

    There were FOUR (4) specific quotes by Christ that fit within the construct of “socialist tendencies” included in that first comment. Thus I beg to differ with your comment that “Mule,
    You bring up a fair point. There wasn’t enough backing of the Jesus-as-socialist concept.

    Further, I have been willing to post a more in-depth comment. But,

    The typical modus operandi of Mule, GROG, Bart, rgbact and their RW brethern has been: (1) false/misleading assertion, (2) get challenged, (3) respond with ANOTHER false/misleading assertion, or, (4) divert, and/or (5) insult the intelligence of the challenger or the blog generally. All the while NEVER backing up or otherwise proving the original assertion to be meritorious. THEN they audaciously whine and moan about mistreatment by the liberals,

    and, frankly, I do not feel the need to immediately respond to a challenge (which did NOT occur until MUCH later in the game, instead there were the usual insults (see Mule @ 11:06, 3/12)) by a contributor who refuses to do so in like like.

    Fair is fair.

    I would MUCH rather engage in meaningful debate than a “you-first” merry-go-round. More than willing, as you all have seen.

    Perhaps you and/or the other moderators can help by giving public warning to those (absolutely including myself) who refuse to give timely and meaningful responses to reasonable challenges, that they will be given a “time-out” for a set time. Perhaps that will reduce these all too common “you first” and “well, your side does it too” exchanges.

    best

  166. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    @ Michael

    “No. I did. I took his down, too,”

    A moderator taking down another moderators comments. Too funny!

    Well, we ALL can use a little editing now and then!

  167. filistro says:

    @Max.. A moderator taking down another moderators comments.

    Actually, Max… that happens more often than you’d think around here 😉

    And Muley’s recent comments (plus GROG’s complaints and your suggestions) have already caused a fairly lively ongoing discussion amongst the site owners about what kind of site we want to be, and how we should handle conflict.

    We do want to be fair… but we’re all just human, too.

    Quick.,.. anybody who has suggestions to offer, now is the time, while we’re open to input!!.

  168. Mule Rider says:

    Thanks for the thoughtful responses, as usual, Michael and mclever. You guys don’t get enough kudos for trying to work on a level/even playing field.

    To your point, mclever, I think an example of that was a recent discussion about rising oil prices as it relates to supply/demand and speculation. My default position is that rising/falling prices can be traced exclusively to shifts in the supply or demand curve unless there is compelling evidence that some exogenous factor is having undue influence on the market. Knowing full-well that dramatic price shifts – while they may seem “unreasonable” or even “unfair” to some, especially if they are over a very short amount of time – seem to defy explanation to the layperson, a more critical understanding of scarce (and necessary) resources and the elasticity of supply or demand for those resources (admittedly, it’s more esoteric than I’m making it out to be) makes it possible to explain those dramatic price swings that seem to defy logic, and that’s why I’m skeptical when people immediately want to scapegoat something like “speculators.” The thing is, if you’re going to blame “speculators” for sending the price of crude to $110/bbl in the present time, then you need to be willing to send them a retroactive thank-you note for “speculating” a market price of only $30-$40/bbl a couple of years ago and giving us somewhat of a respite at the pump.

    Anyway, not to drag that argument back out in its entirety, but it was just a situation like you explained with gravity where I come at it with a view and don’t feel the need to back it (that supply/demand drive oil prices) up with “evidence” seeing as how it’s something that’s not easy to “prove” but is generally accepted within most economic circles unless, of course, there is compelling evidence that supports a contrary position.

    Anyway, while I agree with what’s at the root of the problem in many of these arguments and how keeping it in the back of our minds may help the dialogue, it’s going to take almost unerring discipline to avoid the “playground taunts and insults” when various people come to such vastly different but “obvious” conclusions.

  169. Mule Rider says:

    “The typical modus operandi of Mule, GROG, Bart, rgbact and their RW”

    That fact that you even call me “Right Wing” shows you know little-to-nothing about me and have no business even talking to me until you can get that cleared up.

  170. Mule Rider says:

    “Loaves and fishes(1). “Easier for a rich man to pass through the eye of a needle . . .”(2), “Give to him that asks you . . .”(3), “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth . . .(4)”

    All these examples do is clarify Jesus’ admonition for self-sacrifice, helping the needy, and not putting any kind of priority on material wealth.

    They do not, in any way, shape, or form, make an argument for what is broadly accepted as “socialism” – which is an economic system that argues that central planning (by a secular gov’t) in the production and allocation of resources as a means of organizinig a society’s economy.

    Show me teachings where Jesus advocated that and I’ll agree to your point and move on. Until then, your evidence is sorely lacking.

  171. Mule Rider says:

    If you want to stretch those quotes to mean Jesus had socialist tendencies, I could just as easily point to this (the poor you will always have with you) as an argument for him having more “capitalist” tendencies, but I really don’t wanna go down that blasphemous road because, as I said earlier, that’s not something I believe.

    Again, Jesus’ commandments were about personal (or spiritual) reactions to wealth and the needs of fellow man and were in no way an endorsement or condemnation of any economic system.

    You can easily be of more of a capitalistic nature and free-market type yet eschew the prestige of material wealth and commit to give away copious amounts to your fellow man in need and realize that material wealth is not the path to salvation. Those aren’t mutually exclusive concepts.

  172. msgkings says:

    What MR and mclever’s realizations underscore is how important good faith is in the political sphere, debates, etc.

    When people discuss issues (sometimes in disagreement), if they come from different worldviews and opinions about what’s ‘obvious’, they need to at least believe that the other side is acting/discussing in good faith, is really trying to hear and understand the other side and not just bloviating from their assumptions.

    It’s ok to disagree, even to see the same things totally differently, but if you want productive dialogue and action, you have to act honestly, and believe the other side is too.

    It is this spirit that I think the blog wants to foster, and it is this spirit missing from the nation’s political sphere. Much to all of our detriment. I truly believe this missing comity (not agreement, just agreement to be honest and fair) is the single greatest crisis our nation faces.

  173. Mr. Universe says:

    And I think those things exhibit properties of socialism. We disagree. No surprise. Moving on.

    But I think your original statement was “only an idiot would think those are socialist tendencies”. So you’ll have to forgive me for not ceding any moral high ground to you for being the one with the prevailing cooler head.

  174. Mule Rider says:

    “frankly, I do not feel the need to immediately respond to a challenge ”

    Funny, ’cause when someone doesn’t do YOU the favor of giving you and immediate response, you hound them mercilessly throughout the remainder of that (and future) threads and provide such taunts as “Still waiting (for you to answer that challenge I posed previously)….”

    So fair IS fair. And if you don’t feel the need to respond immediately to a challenge, then nobody else should have to either.

  175. Mule Rider says:

    “So you’ll have to forgive me for not ceding any moral high ground to you for being the one with the prevailing cooler head.”

    Sorry for the derogatory comment but you’ll have to forgive me for not ceding any ground on the primary matter of Jesus’ socialist leanings as I find the evidence very weak and uncompelling.

    “And I think those things exhibit properties of socialism. We disagree. No surprise. Moving on.”

    Using Mr. U’s quote and directing it at Max, dc, et al….

    And I think many of the failures in our economic system can be traced squarely to “crony capitalism” and not “pure laissez-faire capitalism”….it’s obvious we disagree (dc tipped his hand as much with the “true Scotsman” remark that showed he would be unwilling to consider a differing viewpoint)….which is no surprise, so….

    Let’s. Move. On.

  176. mclever says:

    @msgkings

    It’s ok to disagree, even to see the same things totally differently, but if you want productive dialogue and action, you have to act honestly, and believe the other side is too.

    I completely agree. You are right that this seems to be the attitude that the creators of this blog want to encourage, and it is precisely that spirit of trust and comity that seems to be missing from the public political sphere. Because we come in here with such baggage of animosity, we all should work extra hard to give the benefit of the doubt to those who disagree.

    Even if people have different opinions or ideas on how to accomplish things, we need to trust that each is sincere in their desire to do what’s best for our great nation and that all are arguing honestly. The travesty in Congress is that without that level of trust between the two parties, it becomes extraordinarily difficult to actually work on solving problems. Very serious problems only get worse.

  177. mclever says:

    @Mule

    And I think many of the failures in our economic system can be traced squarely to “crony capitalism” and not “pure laissez-faire capitalism”

    I honestly don’t know if I agree with you on this or not, because I’m not sure how you mean the terms “crony capitalism” vs. “pure laissez-faire capitalism.” From my perspective, it seems that pure, unregulated capitalism necessarily leads to “crony” capitalism, so I for one would appreciate an explanation of how you separate the two. How do you prevent unregulated capitalism from devolving into cronyism without regulation? Or, am I just misunderstanding what you mean?

  178. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    fili,

    “A moderator taking down another moderators comments.

    Actually, Max… that happens more often than you’d think around here

    Well, you know, I’m sure a certain hot-headed Canadian (We know {nod, nod, wink, wink!} how those Canadians are!), who’s name we shall not mention, gets THEIR comeuppance quite often!

    BTW, prepare for the resettlement! All my winter Texans are within a couple of weeks of heading back across the border!

  179. GROG says:

    And I think those things exhibit properties of socialism.

    So anyone who gives to charity, volunteers their time, or helps a neighbor in need exhibits properties of socialism. Fair enough.

  180. dcpetterson says:

    MR
    (dc tipped his hand as much with the “true Scotsman” remark that showed he would be unwilling to consider a differing viewpoint)

    Not at all. I would be very interested to hear you describe the difference between “crony capitalism” and “pure laissez-faire capitalism”. And I would seriously consider what you have to say. Which is why I asked you for your take on it, more than once. Politely, too. But you have declined to respond, so I can only assume, in the absence of any other evidence, that these are mere verbal placeholders for you (like the RW use of terms like “socialism”) which don’t actually have a meaning.

    I could be wrong. I hope I am, because I want to have a reasoned conversation on this point. So I ask you again — and again politely — could you please define what you see as the difference, and describe why you feel we have had one but not the other?

    I agree that we have never had “pure laissez-faire capitalism”. I would, in fact, submit that such a thing is not actually possible in the Real World. I would also submit that the closer we come to “pure laissez-faire capitalism,” the worse our current problems would become.

    You’re free to disagree. But we can’t even have the discussion if you simply brush off the questions.

  181. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    Thank you, dc.

    Excellent statement of what the problem in communications has been.

    Much better than my incessant needling.

    I congratulate you.

  182. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    GROG,

    At last, common ground.

    Thank you.

  183. They do not, in any way, shape, or form, make an argument for what is broadly accepted as “socialism” – which is an economic system that argues that central planning (by a secular gov’t) in the production and allocation of resources as a means of organizinig a society’s economy.

    Which is why I said that the discussion has to begin with an agreement of the definition of “socialist.” The question isn’t really one of statements attributed to Jesus; it’s one of the meaning of “socialist.”

    To the extent that socialism applies to helping the less fortunate by using resources controlled by the more fortunate, he did speak of socialism. Beyond that, not so much.

  184. Mule,
    The problem here with the notion of “pure laissez-faire capitalism” is that it cannot exist in any functioning system, for reasons that we should probably cover on another day (I have an article about this gestating in my head). In essence, “crony capitalism” must be the only real result in practice.

    I have yet to see an economic or political system that is “pure” anything, short of those that are defined by a particular regime; those, of course, must be pure whatever-they-are, by definition.

  185. Mule Rider says:

    “So anyone who gives to charity, volunteers their time, or helps a neighbor in need exhibits properties of socialism. Fair enough.”

    Let’s keep this in mind, GROG, the next time these guys howl about conservatives stretching the definition of “socialism” to fit an agenda.

  186. Mule Rider says:

    “The problem here with the notion of “pure laissez-faire capitalism” is that it cannot exist in any functioning system, for reasons that we should probably cover on another day (I have an article about this gestating in my head). In essence, “crony capitalism” must be the only real result in practice.”

    May I suggest you read The Politically Incorrect Guide to Capitalism by Rob Murphy as a starting point.

    I defy your conclusion that “crony capitalism” is an inevitable result if/when it’s practiced in the real world.

    There’s more supporting evidence that socialism inevitably leads to to poor allocation resources, lower standards of living, etc. than supporting evidence for inevitable “crony capitalism.”

    This tells me you don’t have a very good grasp of what “crony capitalism” really is. The funny thing is, some people rightly call it “crony socialism” because it’s ultimately capitalism ruined by too much government interference.

  187. Mule Rider says:

    “To the extent that socialism applies to helping the less fortunate by using resources controlled by the more fortunate, he did speak of socialism. Beyond that, not so much.”

    By allowing such a loose definition of “socialism” in this instance, you’re ceding the high ground in your righteous indignation when people stretch many of Obama’s actions into being “socialist” simply because it doesn’t meet the “obvious, agreed upon, pure, etc.” definition of the word.

    Either it means something or it doesn’t. You can’t lambast one group of people for taking a tangential meaning of the word to fit an agenda and then turn around and do the same thing and not expect to be called on it.

  188. Mule Rider says:

    dc, Max, et al, you want examples of “crony capitalism,” you need look no further than our convoluted tax code. I’ve bemoaned its complexity and how it goes out of its way to pick winners and losers (through loopholes or other unfair advantages/disadvantages) before, and I don’t need to rehash all of that. You guys have even complained as well, yet what you’re not admitting is that its design is a clear-cut case of “crony capitalism” because it offers the guise that we are all individual, free, decision-making folks in a dynamic and competitive economy but it’s really, underneath the surface, unduly rewarding or punishing people for certain behaviors that the government should have little or no influence on.

  189. filistro says:

    Muley, as mac pointed out, it’s impossible to have a reasonable discussion without everybody understanding the terms, or at least reaching some consensus about what is meant by them.

    So… (as I asked you about a thousand posts ago.. ;-))… could you please just define, in a couple of sentences, what you mean by the terms “crony capitalism” and “laissez-faire capitalism?”

    Then we will have a basis for addressing your opinion that there is a “big difference” between the two.

  190. dcpetterson says:

    Mule Rider:
    dc, Max, et al, you want examples of “crony capitalism,” you need look no further than our convoluted tax code

    No, I don’t actually want “examples” yet. I want your definition, and the differences you see between that and “pure laissez-faire capitalism.” You have once again sidestepped the question, which implies that you don’t actually have a definition for these terms.

    Again, I could be wrong. You can easily prove it to me by showing me your birth certif— uh, I mean, definitions 🙂

    Seriously, how would you define “pure laissez-faire capitalism” and “crony capitalism”? (I know how I would define these — I’m curious about your definition.)

  191. Mule,

    I defy your conclusion that “crony capitalism” is an inevitable result if/when it’s practiced in the real world. … This tells me you don’t have a very good grasp of what “crony capitalism” really is.

    As I said, we should table this discussion and agree to disagree for now. It’ll come back around.

    There’s more supporting evidence that socialism inevitably leads to to poor allocation resources

    Certainly “pure” socialism tends to do this, when practiced on a large scale. It works much better on a small scale (fewer than about a hundred people), though at that scale the system loses the economies of scale of larger capitalist systems.

    None of the “pure” systems work very well. Every “pure” system has significant downsides, one reason why hybrids have greater longevity. This applies to politics, economics, engineering, and any other system you can think of. As a rule, those who pine for living in a “pure” system of any sort are romanticizing, ignoring the negatives of that system. It is those negatives which are inevitably catastrophic to the system as a whole.

  192. Mule,

    By allowing such a loose definition of “socialism” in this instance, you’re ceding the high ground

    I’m not a purist about much of anything. I left that behind in my late teens. In this case, my intent was to find common ground, not to call Jesus a socialist.

    righteous indignation when people stretch many of Obama’s actions into being “socialist” simply because it doesn’t meet the “obvious, agreed upon, pure, etc.” definition of the word.

    Speaking solely for myself here, my indignation arises more from a recognition of the intended parallel. Are these people holding up signs calling Obama a socialist because they hate the idea of helping the less fortunate among us? I doubt it, but perhaps; it certainly would make them seem much nastier if that’s the reason. My read is that they believe he’s a socialist because they hear that the PPACA is socialist legislation, and he supports the PPACA. And why do they believe that the PPACA is socialist legislation? Because it’s a “government takeover of healthcare.” But no hospital is being taken over by the government, not a single additional doctor is being employed by the government, not a single insurance company is being taken over by the government…so it’s faulty logic from start to finish. The word “socialism” is almost a non-issue in my indignation. It’s about ignorance from alpha to omega. That’s what bugs me.

    If you want to claim that national health insurance is socialist, I’ll agree with you. We can then discuss the degree to which that’s a good or bad thing, but at least we get off of the starting line of arguing over definitions of words. But you, at least, show some intelligence behind the arguments, rather than mindlessly repeating talking points and the manufactured sound-bite arguments of the talking heads without really understanding what they mean.

  193. Mule Rider says:

    Fair enough. Definitions it is.

    In a laissez-faire capitalistic economy, competition is encouraged and enterprising efforts are not hindered by state intervention (and in some cases it may be necessary for the gov’t to bust up burgeoning monopolies to protect that competition), markets are private and transparent and transactions in the market are free of government influence, and taxes and tariffs are equally enforced.

    Crony capitalism puts up the facade of everything mentioned above; however, the government turns a blind eye/deaf ear to monopolistic control in some industries, entrepreneurial efforts are stifled by burdensome regulations and protectionist policies enacted by politicians on behalf of lobbyists for existing (monopolistic) businesses, markets are not always transparent and the government too often engages in commerce to influence supply/demand/price of certain goods/services, and taxes/tariffs are unequally/unfairly applied (or loopholes are created for tax avoidance).

    There. The definitions you asked for. Let the record show that I answered what’s been asked of me and am not side-stepping anything.

  194. filistro says:

    Thank you, Muley.

    There you go. No way we could have discussed this without definitions, because my definition of “crony capitalism” would be cosy deals done between million/billionaires in teak-panelled back rooms amid a haze of cigar smoke, wherein they plot to sidestep regulations and grease each other’s palms.

    Your definition involves cosy relationships between wealthy businessmen and government officials.

    According to wiki, you are right and I am wrong.

    🙂

  195. dcpetterson says:

    Thank you, Mule. I appreciate it.

    I agree with Michael, both that it will be a fascinating discussion, and that it is better postponed to a thread dedicated to that topic. I look forward to it. I’ll hold on to your definitions, because they will make an excellent contribution to the conversation. Thank you again.

  196. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    FINALLY!!!

    After 2 1/2 days and as many as eight requests by as many a 5 different people.

    How much simpler would it have been, and how much less riding the merry-go-round, to just have done so at 1300 on 3/12??

    But, your definition of laissez faire is flawed:

    “In a laissez-faire capitalistic economy, competition is encouraged “. Not true!

    Under L-F capitalism, there exists economic Darwinism. Survival of the fittest. Dog eat dog. Maximize market share. As market share is captured, attempt to lessen competition by whatever means available. Drive the competition out of business. Hoard enough cash or equivalent to buy out the competition. Become the 800 pound gorilla. At certain critical mass of market share the ability to set prices and thus maximize profit. Flush with cash, you can then systematically lowball attempts by new entrants in your market.

    See also: WalMart vs mom & pop retailers; Home Depot vs community hardware stores; Boeing vs a multitude of aircraft companies existing after WWII.

  197. mclever says:

    @Mule

    Thank you for providing those definitions, because they are not quite what I assumed they would be, which of course explains some of my confusion regarding your assertion of how different they are.

    I look forward to discussing these aspects of capitalism again with you when Michael posts his (eventual) article on the subject.

    I just wanted to acknowledge that you did post the definitions, and that they were very, very helpful to me in understanding the point you were trying to make.

    So, thanks.

  198. mclever says:

    @ filistro

    The “liberal” assumption that the cronies are the rich fat-cat businessmen.

    vs.

    The “conservative” assumption that the cronies are the rich fat-cat politicians.

    See how much a difference it makes when we come at things with different assumptions!

  199. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    Addendum

    The scenario i described is the advancement through pure competition, to oligopoly, to very limited oligopoly. Then monopoly, if possible.

    I too, await Michaels post of a capitalism thread for further discussion on the subject.

  200. Max,

    But, your definition of laissez faire is flawed

    Perhaps, but the point was to get a starting point definition. So you think of something different than Mule Rider does when you hear laissez-faire. That doesn’t make one of you right and the other wrong; it means that you need to be clearer when discussing it with each other.

  201. filistro says:

    @mac… you’re absolutely right… and this whole discussion has been immensely helpful. I’m grateful to Muley and GROG for instigating it (does that sound like sucking up?…well. I’m not, I’ve always liked both of them ;-))

    …but I do wonder how many of our fiercest battles arise because we are using different definitions for the same terms. I recall you and somebody else (I think it was our old friend Jeff, whom I still miss 😦 ) correcting me about my use of the word “base” which I was employing (wrongly) as synonymous with “fringe.”

  202. mclever says:

    @Michael

    That doesn’t make one of you right and the other wrong; it means that you need to be clearer when discussing it with each other.

    Exactly. As is the case with many political topics. When disagreements arise, it always is good to double-check that we’re using the same definitions so that we’re clear about what is meant.

  203. mclever says:

    @filistro

    I miss Jeff, too. 🙂

    You’re absolutely right that many disagreements arise simply because people are using the same words to mean different things, sometimes without even realizing it.

  204. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    Au contraire, mon ami Michael.

    Origin of the term: French, “laissez faire”, imperative of “laisser faire”: to let (people) do (as they choose)

    Definition of LAISSEZ-FAIRE
    a doctrine opposing governmental interference in economic affairs beyond the minimum necessary for the maintenance of peace and property rights

    That is NOT subject to interpretation. Implementation, maybe.

    Defining something incorrectly, and accepting that as a “starting point”, is the path to endless confusion.

  205. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    What Mule is attempting to sell as laissez faire economy is actually a perfect competition, with government regulation to keep it that way. Further his “definition” is internally contradictory:

    “enterprising efforts are not hindered by state intervention (and in some cases it may be necessary for the gov’t to bust up burgeoning monopolies to protect that competition), markets are private and transparent and transactions in the market are free of government influence, and taxes and tariffs are equally enforced.

    See Wiki for the article on perfect competition and see what you think:

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

  206. Mule Rider says:

    “Under L-F capitalism, there exists economic Darwinism. Survival of the fittest. ”

    No shit, Sherlock. Of course it always comes down to the most fit to survive actually doing so. But that’s not a bad thing nor is it antithetical to competition. What happens is the worst and/or least efficient companies fall by the wayside, as they should.

    But the difference – and what you utterly fail to understand – is that when profitability is good for producing a particular good or providing a particular service, new and potentially very innovative, efficient, and successful companies want to jump in from the sidelines and compete with the existing companies enjoying those profits. This is where YOUR definition is flawed. You assume said industry inevitably slips into an oligopoly/monopoly with price-fixing and undue control over precious resources/assets by the few remaining companies. I say that only happens via “cronyism” when those few firms are allowed to grow too big and exert too much influence by gaming the system through loopholes and favors through the government. If the government actually displayed some backbone and didn’t make those loopholes possible, as well as make it extremely difficult for new entrants to enter a particular market, then we wouldn’t run into the problem you describe and we’d always have the market gravitate towards MORE competition and BETTER goods and service, not less and/or worse.

  207. Mule Rider says:

    Max,

    There’s nothing about the laissez-faire concept that says you can’t have government protection of property rights, enforcement of contracts, and protection of competition by eliminating/minimizing barriers to entry and other loopholes. Government has a role. The part about the state not intervening in the market means it doesn’t play a role in determining supply or influencing demand, just that it’s there to make sure any and all players are on equal footing and that new players have an equal chance at entering a market if/when it’s profitable to do so.

  208. Mule Rider says:

    “FINALLY!!!

    After 2 1/2 days and as many as eight requests by as many a 5 different people.”

    And all of those others who made a request responded with a simple “thank you” and other kind words….thus far you’re the only one to respond with sarcasm like an asshole.

    “How much simpler would it have been, and how much less riding the merry-go-round, to just have done so at 1300 on 3/12??”

    How much simpler would it have been for you to say “refer to my earlier 1) through 4) points on Jesus as my justification for his ‘socialist tendencies'”? Don’t preach to me about hemming and hawwing when you do it yourself in spades.

    Besides, I was mostly busy over the weekend. Whether or not you believe it, I have a life and actually have better things to do than to make sure I’ve satisfied the inane requests of some stranger on the internet who makes a point to belittle and berate me every chance he gets because of I see the world a bit differently than he does.

    If I took you and your understanding of the world, economics, etc. seriously, I’d get back to you with more frequency and be more interested in what you have to say in response. But since I find you a bit boorish and your knowledge and understanding of topics that I know very well to be a bit subpar, then there really isn’t much urgency to maintain a constant dialogue with you on these matters.

  209. Mule,

    What happens is the worst and/or least efficient companies fall by the wayside, as they should.

    But “worst and/or least efficient” is a slippery concept. People choose to buy based on many different factors. A company can erect barriers to entry by selling at a loss, or by tying less-desireable products to more-desireable ones, thus leveraging a subpar product into dominance. Or they can buy out potential competitors. Or they can monopolize other parts of a necessary supply chain. The methods of producing artificial barriers to entry that stifle competition are endless. Cronyism is but one way of accomplishing this, and it’s not the method of first resort by any means. But, in the end, any or all of those methods create a scenario by which every other company in that market has a “worse or less efficient” offering, as far as the consumer is concerned. It just isn’t necessarily true that the other potential offerings would, absent those barriers, be considered by potential consumers as worse or less efficient.

    Oligopolies and/or monopolies aren’t inevitable, but there are extremely compelling pressures on companies to move in that direction.

    Max is correct about one thing, though. The economic system you describe as laissez-faire is closer to perfect competition, per the more commonly-accepted definitions.

  210. drfunguy says:

    I don’t have a dog in this fight, but I am puzzled by a definition of laissez-faire capitalism that allows for government interference to prevent monopolies.
    Unimpeded competition should by its nature create monopolies as the best competitor eliminates all competition, no?

  211. Mr. Universe says:

    Funguy, Ph.D.

    Planning a discussion as we speak.

  212. Mule Rider says:

    “The economic system you describe as laissez-faire is closer to perfect competition, per the more commonly-accepted definitions.”

    No, my definition of laissez-faire is very close to the correct one as you’d find it in a textbook. What you guys don’t seem to realize is that perfect (well, I’d say near-perfect as you’re never going to be “perfect” with anything) competition is a PRODUCT or a residual of a properly implemented laissez-faire system. That’s why the definitions seem to overlap. Yes, part of what I’m describing is a perfectly or near-perfectly competitive environment, but that’s what you should have in a true laissez-faire system.

    Now, maybe we disagree about the product of such a system, and that’s fine, but that’s the angle I’m coming from.

  213. Mule Rider says:

    “I don’t have a dog in this fight, but I am puzzled by a definition of laissez-faire capitalism that allows for government interference to prevent monopolies.”

    I don’t know why this is the case, but over and over and over again, the liberals I come across have trouble making the cognitive leap to understand that the problem ISN’T with the government intervening to make sure the rules are equally and fairly applied and promote transparency and protect competition; the problem is when they actually intervene by influencing supply/demand factors, create de facto barriers to entry, or unfairly apply regulations, taxes, tariffs, etc.

  214. drfunguy says:

    What problem? I didn’t say there was I problem, did I?
    I am just curious how (and why) one would prevent monopolies while allegedly allowing unfettered competition (which by its nature should lead to monopolies).
    Ad hominem generalizations that speak to some other topic really aren’t necessary.

  215. GROG says:

    @Monotreme: I wish you’d go here and make a comment. We missed you when this was posted last week. (Not a criticism, because we all have lives and other things to attend to.) I value your input.

    Yes, I missed that article. I’ve read it and am trying to get through the comments. (Great article and commentary so far.)

  216. filistro says:

    from wiki: emphasis mine

    In economics, laissez-faire (English pronunciation: /ˌlɛseɪˈfɛər/ ( listen), French: [lesefɛʁ] ( listen)) describes an environment in which transactions between private parties are free from state intervention, including restrictive regulations, taxes, tariffs and enforced monopolies.

    The phrase laissez-faire is French and literally means “let do”, but it broadly implies “let it be”, or “leave it alone.”

  217. filistro says:

    Saying you believe in “laissez-faire” capitalism with some government intervention to prevent monopolies….. is just like saying you believe in complete monogamy with the occasional extramarital affair to prevent monotony.

  218. Mule Rider says:

    filistro,

    You’re making the same mistake as other posters here and conflating the idea of government intervention in “transactions between private parties” and government intervention in making sure those transactions are transparent, fair, and rights are protected.

    It was suggested here before, but you guys should really read into the works of Friedrich Hayek and Ludwig von Mises.

  219. filistro says:

    Muley… we are in agreement except (as we confirmed yesterday) for a semantic technicality.

    I think free-wheeling capitalism is a pretty good way to build a country’s wealth, especially in the early stages of nationhood. I also think some government curbs soon become absolutely necessary to prevent abuse and assorted hanky-panky.

    But once you apply any government curbs, you no longer have “laissez-faire” capitalism. You have something else.

    That’s all. Just the definition of the term.

    Now stop arguing and wait for Michael’s new post, which will allow us all to hash over the merits of various economic systems to our little hearts’ content. 🙂

  220. It may be a while. I’m trying to put something together about events unfolding this week.

  221. GROG says:

    @Mono, Filistro, DC:

    I don’t have much time today but I read and made a few comments on Mono’s March 9th article, “Will Ye Have the Poor Always With You?”

  222. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    Perfect competition describes markets such that no participants are large enough to have the market power to set the price of a homogeneous product.

    Generally, a perfectly competitive market exists when every participant is a “price taker”, and no participant influences the price of the product it buys or sells. Specific characteristics may include:
    Infinite buyers and sellers – Infinite consumers with the willingness and ability to buy the product at a certain price, and infinite producers with the willingness and ability to supply the product at a certain price.
    Zero entry and exit barriers – It is relatively easy for a business to enter or exit in a perfectly competitive market.
    Perfect factor mobility – In the long run factors of production are perfectly mobile allowing free long term adjustments to changing market conditions.
    Perfect information – Prices and quality of products are assumed to be known to all consumers and producers.
    Zero transaction costs – Buyers and sellers incur no costs in making an exchange (perfect mobility).
    Profit maximization
    – Firms aim to sell where marginal costs meet marginal revenue, where they generate the most profit.
    Homogeneous products – The characteristics of any given market good or service do not vary across suppliers.
    Non-increasing returns to scale – Non-increasing returns to scale ensure that there are sufficient firms in the industry.

    Because the conditions for perfect competition are strict, there are few if any perfectly competitive markets. Perfect competition serves as a benchmark against which to measure real-life and imperfectly competitive markets.

    (From the Wiki article)

    As has been pointed out by Michael and fili, what Mule keeps calling “laissez faire” is NOT, but is most closely in description to “perfect competition”, As pointed out above, the strict constraints on what actually IS perfect competition prevent it from being any more than theory and a benchmark. Mule, in spite of the true definition of “laissez faire” (Origin of the term: French, “laissez faire”, imperative of “laisser faire”: to let (people) do (as they choose).
    Definition of LAISSEZ-FAIRE
    a doctrine opposing governmental interference in economic affairs beyond the minimum necessary for the maintenance of peace and property rights
    ) keeps on (after the ad hominems) insisting that it is something that only he seems to be able to define while the rest of us unwashed ignorant heathens just can’t get beyond what the dictionary says.

    This is more than just a disagreement on the nuances within a definition, but a complete redefinition.

  223. Max,
    For the time being, I suggest you leave this one alone. We’ll get there, I promise.

  224. mclever says:

    Sometimes, when I hear people talking about certain policies, it seems that terms such as “laissez faire economy” become a replacement for “my idealized vision of how the economy should work.” Which, if you were Ayn Rand might be true.

    But most of us aren’t Ayn Rand, so our ideal of how the economy should work usually involves some sort of government intervention to prevent monopolies and other unfair competitive practices from infesting an otherwise relatively free market exchange which we hope approximates the “perfect competition” ideal. Depending how “liberal” we are, we may favor different forms of intervention, but I would venture that all of us want some sort of government monitoring of the economy, which (technically) is no longer “laissez-faire.”

    If terms like that are used carelessly, then even assuming all parties are discussing things in good faith, it can result in these sorts of exchanges:
    A: “I support the Disney policy.”
    B: “How can any reasonable person be in favor of the Mickey Mouse principle?”
    A: “I didn’t say that! I’m talking about Disney, not Mickey Mouse.”
    B: “But the Mickey Mouse principle is by definition a subset of the Disney policy, which means X, Y, and Z.”
    A: “No, well I meant X, but not Y and Z.”

    This goes for any situation where certain jargon takes on connotations that no longer fit with how others generally use the term. If there is confusion, then it’s often better to describe exactly what you mean so there is less misunderstanding. And, be patient with one another.

  225. drfunguy says:

    @McIver – well put
    @Mule Rider – thanks for the reading suggestions, I’ll give you one – Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary

  226. Mule Rider says:

    “This is more than just a disagreement on the nuances within a definition, but a complete redefinition.”

    I don’t need to respond to all of your bluster because you seem too ignorant and insecure to even comprehend the deeper points I’ve been trying to make. But since you accuse me of “redefining” the word, I’ll provide my exact quote of how I originally defined laissez-faire and how it’s defined in Wikipedia.

    Here’s my quote:

    In a laissez-faire capitalistic economy, competition is encouraged and enterprising efforts are not hindered by state intervention (and in some cases it may be necessary for the gov’t to bust up burgeoning monopolies to protect that competition), markets are private and transparent and transactions in the market are free of government influence, and taxes and tariffs are equally enforced.

    From Wikipedia:

    In economics, laissez-faire describes an environment in which transactions between private parties are free from state intervention, including restrictive regulations, taxes, tariffs and enforced monopolies.

    Again, I’m not so ignorant and insecure that I need to keep calling attention to the semantics and disagree and blow snot over something just for the sake of creating friction. I know damn well what I’m talking about and I’ll let the reader decide whether my definition is simply a more nuanced take on how laissez-faire is actually defined or if I’m redefining it entirely.

    Also, may I suggest just dropping the matter for now. You’re not illuminating anything new or changing anyone’s minds and you’re just showing your ass by constantly bloviating about this in such a boorish manner. Mr. Universe said it best above. We disagree. No surprise. Let’s move on.

    I’m done talking about it unless it comes up in a future article as the main topic, and even then, I don’t feel the need to come on and justify/explain my understanding of such rudimentary concepts.

    If you feel the need to come back on here and bluster and blather away and try and shout me down, then that tells me a plenty about your complete insecurity and lack of understanding on these concepts and your need to keep shouting your loosely held beliefs so you can keep convincing yourself you’re right.

  227. filistro says:

    @doc… thanks for the reading suggestions, I’ll give you one – Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary

    And who wouldn’t take reading suggestions from a guy who has recently read “A Practical Guide for the Nonengineer Installer”…. and… “The Other Boleyn Girl” ?!!

    LOL.

    As you can tell, Doc, I just clicked on your avatar. You have beautiful eyes 😉

  228. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    Mule, simply more ad hominems.

    Michael, will do.

  229. Mule Rider says:

    “…but I would venture that all of us want some sort of government monitoring of the economy, which (technically) is no longer “laissez-faire.””

    No no no. Again, NO! This is what I chastised drfunguy above for and what I keep repeating to no avail. Government “monitoring” – or the proper role of playing impartial arbiter and rule-enforcer in protecting property rights, enforcing contracts, etc. – is NOT the same is state intervention in market transactions and actually tampering with supply/demand factors by showing favoritism to one business over another, entering the market as a buyer/seller, etc.

    I’m at a loss for words in what I could say to make this more clear, but I’m about to decide some of you are simply choosing to ignore the difference.

  230. drfunguy says:

    @Fili – Thats: “Hydronic Radiant Heating: A practical guide for the nonengineer installer”.
    As you see my reading is a bit eclectic… I don’t list the technical literature in my fields of interest…
    Thanks for the compliment.
    @Mule I didn’t notice any chastisement, just a disagreement over definitions.
    I will point out that your definition allows for “equally enforced” tariffs and taxes, while wikipedia says market are “free from… state intervention, including …taxes, tariffs …” to me these are very different. What McIver said.
    I will await Michael’s article to participate further.

  231. mclever says:

    Mule,

    I understand the difference. But you’re placing things into one of two buckets (laissez-faire vs. extensive government-manipulation) when there are more than two options.

    It’s more like A or B or C, where A is laissez-faire, B is regulated capitalism, and C is the level of government participation in the economy that you seem to so despise. Because B (which you apparently prefer) is assuredly not C, you seem to be lumping it with A. And because most of us prefer B’, which is somewhere between B and C, you’re mad at us for “not being able to tell the difference.”

  232. Mule Rider says:

    “wikipedia says market are “free from… state intervention, including …taxes, tariffs …” to me these are very different.”

    They seem very different because of your incorrect/improper use of ellipses which leaves out key words. It says that transactions “between private parties are free from state intervention, including restrictive regulations, taxes, tariffs and enforced monopolies.” More fully, those transactions are free of restrictive regulations, restrictive taxes, restrictive tariffs, and enforced monopolies. To me, if transactions can be done without restrictive regulations, restrictive tariffs, or restrictive taxes to any particular party, then they are being equally/fairly applied to everyone as I said in my definition.

    “I will await Michael’s article to participate further.”

    I don’t feel the need to participate and I’m pretty damn sure I’m about to go on another long hiatus. This merry-go-round gets pretty damn old and I’m pretty sure nobody is going to change their minds on either side, and some just use it as an excuse to lambast others with a differing worldview.

    Max,

    Instead of focusing on the ad hominems, why don’t you take a look at where I juxtaposed the two definitions and point out major differences between them. Or not, whatever you feel like, big guy.

  233. Mule Rider says:

    “I understand the difference.”

    No you don’t. Or else you’d know that it’s an entirely different ballgame discussing the government’s invervention in ACTUAL MARKET TRANSACTIONS and setting up restrictive and unfair policies to commerce versus the government’s role (and potentially necessary intervention) as a RULES ENFORCER and PROTECTOR of the sanctity of the free market.

  234. Ya know, Mule, I was expecting your participation in the Double Dip article, but you were nowhere to be found. I figured it was one article that would be right up your alley.

    But I think you’re getting way too wrapped around the axle over the question of a precise definition of laissez-faire. Honestly, why does it matter so much? It’s a side-issue of little import outside of the realm of serious economists. I would hardly consider this site to be part of that realm. People misuse all sorts of terms around here all the time, whether in politics, science, technology, or economics. So what? Unless the misuse is a deliberate attempt to mislead, it’s harmless.

  235. Gator says:

    drfunguy says: Thats: “Hydronic Radiant Heating: A practical guide for the nonengineer installer”.

    We’re talking water tubes in concrete floors and under wooden flooring, right. LOL!
    Sounds so very intellectual and yet it’s… floor heating!

  236. Mule Rider says:

    Thanks, Michael, as usual you bring a level head and clarity to the matter.

    “Ya know, Mule, I was expecting your participation in the Double Dip article, but you were nowhere to be found. I figured it was one article that would be right up your alley.”

    I remember reading it and after skimming it again, I found myself pretty much in agreement with everything you said. It was well-written and I guess I didn’t participate because there wasn’t much lively discussion emanating from anyone else.

    “But I think you’re getting way too wrapped around the axle over the question of a precise definition of laissez-faire. Honestly, why does it matter so much?”

    I agree. And it doesn’t matter so much. But when you’ve got some people hell-bent on screaming out “You’re wrong! You’re wrong!” it’s hard not to defend yourself at least a little.

    “It’s a side-issue of little import outside of the realm of serious economists. I would hardly consider this site to be part of that realm. People misuse all sorts of terms around here all the time, whether in politics, science, technology, or economics. So what?”

    Again true.

    “Unless the misuse is a deliberate attempt to mislead, it’s harmless.”

    And that’s what puzzles me. Based on Max (and possibly others’) reactions, you would get the impression that they think I’m trying to deliberately mislead, possibly for some sinister purpose, and that’s not true in the least. But again, when some people make a point to say (and repeat over and over again) “You’re wrong! You’re wrong!” then, by golly, I’m going to challenge them to make a decent argument to point out why.

    But, yeah, letting it go would probably be better….and I should probably go on another sabbatical and leave this place for a while. It’s proving to be too big of a distraction again, and I’ve got better things to do than share my thoughts/opinions on some matters, even if it stirs a decent dialogue/debate with some people, if the same 2-3 people insist on stepping in and giving their bluster and condescending disapproval of what I have to say, especially when they don’t have much informative/useful to offer themselves.

  237. mclever says:

    @Michael

    I thought your Double Dip article was excellent, btw. 🙂

    @Mule

    I’m not going to argue it with you any further. I now understand the limited-regulation capitalism that you mean when you say “laissez-faire” is not the completely unregulated free-for-all that extreme libertarians mean when they use the same term. Because I believe that government intervention is sometimes necessary to promote a fair and free market, I am generally opposed to the libertarian version of laissez-faire. We will have to talk more (perhaps in the comment section of Michael’s upcoming article) before I can decide whether or not I agree with you about the levels of government intervention that are most appropriate (i.e. breaking up monopolies).

  238. mclever says:

    Mule,

    If my contributions to this discussion offended you, then I sincerely apologize. I was trying to clarify why it’s important to recognize when we are using terms inconsistently with one another, so that we can remedy that by being clearer about what we mean. I wasn’t trying to “pile on.” Again, if you felt I was, then I apologize.

    (And, I’m all in favor of Disney, BTW!) 😉

  239. Mule Rider says:

    “If my contributions to this discussion offended you, then I sincerely apologize.”

    Not in the least. You remain a class act, in my opinion. And I apologize for some snappy things I may have said to you.

    I really only got cross-ways with one person, and I let that ruffle my feathers more than it should.

  240. filistro says:

    Mules have feathers? 🙂

  241. Mule Rider says:

    “I now understand the limited-regulation capitalism that you mean when you say “laissez-faire” is not the completely unregulated free-for-all that extreme libertarians mean when they use the same term.”

    Thank you for recognizing the difference and the fact that I’m not arguing in favor of that and I’m fully endorsing a role for government to maintain fairness in the market.

    That’s what bothered me about Max. Taking a page out of Bartbuster’s book, he went to quibbling about wording rather anything I said or was in favor of. Granted, words have meaning and there should be some level of consensus on the definitions so we all know what we’re talking about, but if I’m arguing for an economic system and want to call it Butternut Squash, ultimately the discussion should be on the merits or pitfalls of implementing such a system without all the friction of nomenclature. One man’s Butternut Squash may be another man’s Green Beans, but fairly applied taxes are fairly applied taxes and transparency is transperancy, and so on…

  242. Mule Rider says:

    “Mules have feathers?”

    No, but their riders do 🙂

  243. filistro says:

    It’s the wings, Muley… they do tend to get in the way.

    The price you pay for being an angel 😉

  244. mclever says:

    🙂 No hard feelings here, Mule.

    If we lived closer together, I might buy you a cold one to enjoy while we watch the NCAAs together and root against those damn Gators…

    😉

  245. Mule Rider says:

    “If we lived closer together, I might buy you a cold one to enjoy while we watch the NCAAs together and root against those damn Gators…”

    LOL! My bracket has BYU going all the way….Jimmer Fredette For The Win!!

  246. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    Mule,

    Let me say, first of all, that for any personal attacks I have made against you, unintentional or otherwise, I apologize. I don’t know you personally so I can’t really be personally against you. It’s just that many times, as I want to engage in an honest debate, exchanges with you are as though I’m talking down a well. It seems that you have that same opinion of me. Perhaps if we would both take one another at face value, and not as though either has some agenda against the other. Attempt to overcome any difference in viewpoint, instead of pushing those buttons.

    Let me also say that, should we meet in person, I’d also have no hesitation about buying a round. Here, at the the golf club (It being Texas, after all) most of my friends are staunch right wingers. We got back and forth as hard as we do here, maybe harder, with no personal animosity.

    An aside: Since I started here three years ago, one of those guys, an avid GOLFER (and I mean really, his collections of clubs, posters volunteering at US Opens etc is top flight!) has become a friend. He is currently terminally ill with bone cancer. I would do most anything for him. Politics has nothing to do with personal relationships and friendship.

    So next time I’m at the Peabody, I’ll email you and buy you one to help you forget how badly those Blue Devils kicked the rest of the field..

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s