The Friday Political Thread: So What Happens to the Company That Made All Those Hillary Nutcrackers?

The Week in Brief
- Barack Obama defeated Hillary Clinton and became the 35th Democratic nominee for president. As Clinton marshalled her forces for her Saturday concession speech, as she demandsand as rumors build that she could run for governor of New York, I thought of this.

- John McCain raised some money.
- Bob Barr ruled the airwaves and asked to be included in the (10!) debates that McCain wants before the convention.

Below the Fold
- Nate at FiveThirtyEight posts a fascinating general election map. McCain is polling better than Bush did in the Northeast, Arkansas, and the punished primary states Michigan and Florida. Obama's polling better than Kerry did basically everwhere else.
- Nas takes the mic to herald the Obama nomination. (Cue O'Reilly Factor expose in 3,2,1...)
- Chuck Todd lights the funeral pyre for the Clinton campaign.
- Bob Barr adds Bob Marley to his "music" page on Facebook.
- Phil Klein watches Jim Webb fluff his VP audition.
- Eve Fairbanks profiles my new favorite Senate candidate.
- And wasn't this the director's cut ending to The Path to 9/11?

Play us out, Steve Hillage!

SATURDAY UPDATE: There are many ways to bask in Hillary Clinton's concession speech. I'm fond of Ana Marie Cox's twitter feed.

What is it w/HRC and children who give up their dreams to support her? Next: "And then I took some candy from a baby."

My snark can not compare, although when Clinton pledged to fight for people in "dead-end jobs," I muttered: "Like the U.S. Senate?"

SUNDAY UPDATE: I'm getting a little thrill from the death rattling of the people who bought the Obama "whitey" hoax. Stop the ACLU posts a video by Pastor James Manning, the nincompoop who gained some fame back in April when he called Obama a "long-legged mack daddy."

I don’t know how reliable this guy is either, but it is certainly interesting.

Please, please, jump down this rabbit hole. See you when you get out! And Larry Johnson's story keeps changing.

I have not spoken directly with the people who have seen the tape, but I have spoken to two of my friends who are friends with those who watched the tape/dvd.

What happened to the "five separate sources who have spoken directly with people who have seen the tape?" Also, now that Johnson is getting raked over the coals and compared to Clifford Irving, why doesn't one of these sources, you know... put Johnson in touch with one of the people who "saw the tape"? Even if they don't give him the damn thing (for obvious reasons of non-existence), they could put Johnson a little closer to the story. The fact that they haven't indicates, even further, that it's a game of telephone and the people who've "seen the tape" are lying and hoping they don't get caught. Johnson does a little more blubbering about his reputation:

Now it is some on the left who are attacking me and behaving in the same manner as those who rejected my reports on Iraq and Valerie Plame.

How unfair! Why did anyone reject his reports on Valerie Plame, anyway?

Also: In lieu of an actual tape, hoaxters have produced a video that recites what HillBuzz said was on the tape. White text on black screen for three and a half minutes.

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  • ||

    Obama get the nomination and "John McCain raised some money."

    Did anyone else notice the huge spike in Oil prices as well?

  • ||

    - Bob Barr adds Bob Marley to his "music" page on Facebook.

    Great...of all the pot smokers he could have put on his page to show his new love for legalizing it, he puts up a fucking socialist.

  • ||

    joshua,
    But at least a)Marley's music is groovadelic and b)Marley is dead.

  • ||

    Anyone notice the McCain ad in the right column?

    It is a terrible picture to choose of Obama...I mean he looks pissed and he looks pissed at that Iranian dude....

    If I was McCain I would have used a picture of Obama smiling....smiling at the Iran dude.

  • ||

    Bob Barr ruled the airwaves and asked to be included in the (10!) debates that McCain wants before the convention.

    10 debates? Didn't we suffer through enough during the fucking primaries?
    Can we just give up on democracy already? I'd rather live under a monarchy then have to suffer through another season of this.

  • ktc2||

    The coming case for "knife control" laws:

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,364022,00.html

  • ktc2||

    Soon only plastic cutlery will be legal!

  • ||

    Here's something to toss into the mix

    If Ryan Frederick is up for the death penalty, what should this guy get?

  • the 46th Democratic nominee?||

    2008 - 1828 = 180

    180/4 = 45

    45 + 1 (because Jackson was the first not the zeroeth) = 46, right?

    or are you calling Van Buren first because Jackson only declared himself a Democrat after his election? (which IIRC I do not think is correct - he called himself a Democrat while running for sucessful 1828 election, but not the failed 1824 one.)

  • Franklin Harris||

    Great...of all the pot smokers he could have put on his page to show his new love for legalizing it, he puts up a fucking socialist.



    Oh, cut the man some slack. I've probably got Marxist revolutionaries among my favorite musicians (just an assumption given my love of African blues), but no one questions my libertarian credentials -- well, except occasionally Dondero.

  • ||

    Talk about a major typo! I think someone won't be put in charge of headlines anymore.

  • Franklin Harris||

    Can we just give up on democracy already? I'd rather live under a monarchy then have to suffer through another season of this.



    It does make British parliamentary democracy with its weeks-long campaigns seem better all the time, doesn't it.

  • ||

    Crane inspecting bribe taker should get the double death penalty. As should anyone put in charge of the public safety who deliberately commits acts against said safety.

  • ||

    Reason readers have a knee-jerk reaction to socialists (when they mean social programs and not state owned industry) but give a pass to fascists like Bush/Cheney.

    This strikes me as inconsistent. Both pump up the size of government but the GOP does it with authoritarian zealotry and the loss of rights.

    Now that China and Russia are about to challenge us as lone superpower and they are adopting Corporatism over communism we will see our prestige slip further. The Bushpigs know this and are working hard in the worldwide energy grab.

    The die has been cast. The state is becoming a n agent for corporate profit while we wrestle with the newfound power of China and Russia.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Reason readers have a knee-jerk reaction to socialists (when they mean social programs and not state owned industry) but give a pass to fascists like Bush/Cheney.

    WTF? Seriously, do you read the comments of people here?

  • ||

    WTF? Seriously, do you read the comments of people here?

    Yes, but I don't remember names and have read - tops, 250 comments in a month or so.

    Fluffy, Kohole, and 2-4 others are straight up non-partisan.

    And "Warren" hates both parties equally and is avidly anti-authority. I like that.

    Other than those - I don't know many posters.

    I just read random comments. I'd say 40% or so are purely non-partisan LP with 25% GOP leaning.

    Pure guesses, I admit.

  • ||

    Sure, Shrike.

    This strikes me as inconsistent. Both pump up the size of government but the GOP does it with authoritarian zealotry and the loss of rights.


    Because HillaryCare, the assault weapons ban, Waco, and the Elian Gonzales case (just off the top off my head) were not cases of the donkeys exercising "authoritarian zealotry" and the people experiencing a "loss of rights". You are a clear example of non-partisan thinking.

  • democratic nominees||

    "the 46th Democratic nominee?" seems to be right in pointing out that Obama will be the 46th nominee... or is there another way to count them?

    1 1828 Andrew Jackson
    2 1832 Andrew Jackson
    3 1836 Martin Van Buren
    4 1840 Martin Van Buren
    5 1844 James Polk
    6 1848 Lewis Cass
    7 1852 Franklin Pierce
    8 1856 James Buchanan
    9 1860 Stephen Douglas
    10 1864 George McClellan
    11 1868 Horatio Seymour
    12 1872 Horace Greeley
    13 1876 Samuel Tilden
    14 1880 Winfield Hancock
    15 1884 Grover Cleveland
    16 1888 Grover Cleveland
    17 1892 Grover Cleveland
    18 1896 William Jennings Bryan
    19 1900 William Jennings Bryan
    20 1904 Alton Parker
    21 1908 William Jennings Bryan
    22 1912 Woodrow Wilson
    23 1916 Woodrow Wilson
    24 1920 James Cox
    25 1924 John Davis
    26 1928 Alfred Smith
    27 1932 Franklin D. Roosevelt
    28 1936 Franklin D. Roosevelt
    29 1940 Franklin D. Roosevelt
    30 1944 Franklin D. Roosevelt
    31 1948 Harry S Truman
    32 1952 Adlai Stevenson
    33 1956 Adlai Stevenson
    34 1960 John F. Kennedy
    35 1964 Lyndon Johnson
    36 1968 Hubert Humphrey
    37 1972 George McGovern
    38 1976 Jimmy Carter
    39 1980 Jimmy Carter
    40 1984 Walter Mondale
    41 1988 Michael Dukakis
    42 1992 Bill Clinton
    43 1996 Bill Clinton
    44 2000 Al Gore
    45 2004 John Kerry
    46 2008 Barack Obama

  • ||

    Actually, when Stephen Douglas ran weren't there two Democratic nominees, a northern and a southern?

  • ||

    Answering my own question, the Democrats also ran John Cabell Breckinridge in 1860.

  • ||

    Because HillaryCare, the assault weapons ban, Waco, and the Elian Gonzales case (just off the top off my head) were not cases of the donkeys exercising "authoritarian zealotry" and the people experiencing a "loss of rights". You are a clear example of non-partisan thinking.

    I am opposed to National Healthcare and Hillary Clinton, Waco was overreach, the 2nd amendment is safe (see 'shrike' and the meaning of assault weapons) and I have no idea what the Cuban kid was ever about but doubt it could be worse than Terri Schiavo.

    I am anti-war, anti-nation building, anti deficit, anti-warrantless wiretapping, anti-detention, anti- CIA covert spy outing, pro habeaus corpus, pro secularism, pro-due process, etc.


    You can't run lists against the Bush fascists - their crimes are now legendary.

    btw - I do support Obama now that Ron Paul is out.

    The only faith I have in cutting the size of Government is getting OUT of permanent war.

    They can do that but little else - but only Obama can - McCain will never claim victory and leave.

  • ||

    The only faith I have in cutting the size of Government is getting OUT of permanent war.

    They can do that but little else - but only Obama can - McCain will never claim victory and leave.

    Agreed. My vote will probably go to Barr, but if Ohio is close enough in the polls it will go to Obama. This war is destroying our economy while being a giveaway to defense contractors and wartime suppliers like KBR. Plus, an Obama election just might make the Republicans remember that they are supposed to be the party of small government. Ideally, it would also destroy the coalition of the Republican Party and the religious right. In reality, it won't happen.

  • ||

    What to do with the Billary nutcrackers?
    How about painting on white tights and substituting an Obama bobblehead?
    (All proceeds from sales going to pay Billary's debt which she ran up purely because she was a nutty nutcracker.)

  • ||

    "Reason readers have a knee-jerk reaction to socialists (when they mean social programs and not state owned industry) but give a pass to fascists like Bush/Cheney."

    That's true. If there's one common theme on Reason, it's giving President Bush a "pass." He's absolutely adored on here.

  • ||

    Bob Barr is on Glenn Beck right now. 9PM EST.

  • Colin||

    It's interesting that you accuse others of mis-defining "socialist" when you're definition of "fascist" is pretty broad. It reminds of something my polysci professor once said:

    "Back in the 60s the definition of 'fascist' changed -- it came to mean 'anyone to the right of Frank Zappa'."

    No one (sane) here's gonna defend Bush/Cheney, but if they were truly fascists, you probably wouldn't be here long enough to say it -- and you certainly wouldn't be voting for their replacements.

  • ||

    Agreed. My vote will probably go to Barr, but if Ohio is close enough in the polls it will go to Obama. This war is destroying our economy while being a giveaway to defense contractors and wartime suppliers like KBR. Plus, an Obama election just might make the Republicans remember that they are supposed to be the party of small government. Ideally, it would also destroy the coalition of the Republican Party and the religious right. In reality, it won't happen.

    Amazing.

    What began as an argument ended as total agreement. This might be an inter-tubes first!

  • Bingo||

    Shrike are you like 15 years old or something?

  • ||

    No one (sane) here's gonna defend Bush/Cheney, but if they were truly fascists, you probably wouldn't be here long enough to say it -- and you certainly wouldn't be voting for their replacements.

    OK - I've had this discussion here before.

    Fascism is not necessarily evil, it can be benevolent.

    The root - 'fasces" is Italian for "bundle of sticks" - meaning that militarism, corporatism, nationalism, anti-intellectualism, religion, secrecy and authority ALL combined strengthen each other.

    You don't need to gas six million innocents to qualify as "fascist".

  • ||

    Well, Shrike, even Hitler and Stalin found common ground, for a while.

  • Les||

    Reason readers have a knee-jerk reaction to socialists (when they mean social programs and not state owned industry) but give a pass to fascists like Bush/Cheney.

    shrike, the vast majority of posters here regularly express their hatred for Bush/Cheney and what they've wrought.

  • ||

    I've never voted Republican in my life, but I'd consider voting for that guy in Montana, over - yaaaawwwwwwwnnnnn - Max Bacaus.

    The Kennedy/Nixon analogies are just unavoidable, aren't they?

  • Colin||

    Sorry, but true fascism requires an autocratic state led by a dictator. That is not America (yet.)

    By the way, that bundle of sticks was actually an ancient Roman symbol used by magistrates when passing judgements.

  • ||

    I knew a guy in college who went to buy an Italian flag - a red/white/green tricolor - and when he got it home, it was a Mexican flag - a red/white/green tricolor with a chicken (heh) in the middle.

    So he drew a bundle of sticks in the chicken's claws with a magic marker, and proclaimed it to be the flag of the Italian fasciis.

  • BakedPenguin||

    I'd consider voting for that guy in Montana, over - yaaaawwwwwwwnnnnn - Max Bacaus.

    Yeah, Mr. Magoo pissed me off, too.

  • No Name Guy||

    You want your guy to barely eek out a very questionable win, Joe?

    Thats the problem with the Kennedy/Nixon analogy for him.

  • ||

    Bob Barr is on Glenn Beck right now. 9PM EST.

    If he wants my vote, he'll have to lay that fucking obnoxious bedwetting crackpot out with a chair.

  • ||

    If he wants my vote, he'll have to lay that fucking obnoxious bedwetting crackpot out with a chair.

    Now that is good snark.

  • ||

    Hitler and Stalin found common ground, for a while.

    Sure, they both had a deep love for killing as many Russians as they could.

    -jcr

  • Pottsy||


    btw - I do support Obama now that Ron Paul is out.

    The only faith I have in cutting the size of Government is getting OUT of permanent war.


    Glad I'm not the only one who sees it this way... Given the option between big government with perpetual war and big government without, I'll take the latter any day. It's just unfortunate that a donkey prez will likely arrive with an even donkier congress.

  • ||

    Fascism is not necessarily evil, it can be benevolent.

    Sorry, that's bullshit. Fascists, like any other flavor of tyrant will of course pretend that their intentions are good, but every instance of fascism in practice showed that they're lying through their teeth.

    -jcr

  • Pottsy||

    and the Steve Hillage is the poop, Weigel. Too bad you didn't post a bit of System 7 instead, though.

  • sports stats geek||

    From the list above and a few quick checks:

    Democratic Presidential Nominees

    All time: 20-25 (0.444)

    1800's: 8-10 (0.444)
    1900's: 12-13 (0.480)
    2000's: 0-2 (0.000)

    When nominating sitting president: 8-3 (0.727)
    When challenging sitting president: 6-9 (0.400)
    When sitting president not running: 6-13 (0.316) (!!) (ruh-roh... hello President McCain)*

    Longest winning streak: 5 (1932-1948)
    Longest losing streak: 6 (1860-1880)
    Last ten elections: 3-7 (0.300)

    * How can Dems be worse at winning when the president isn't running (0.316) than when challenging the incumbent president (0.400)?

  • sports stats geek||

    When sitting president not running: 6-13 (0.316) (!!) (ruh-roh... hello President McCain)

    Oh and it gets even worse when you break this down by century:

    1800's: 5-6
    1900's: 1-6
    2000's: 0-1

    So, since 1900, the Democrats are 1-7 in elections where the incumbent president isn't running.

    Very easy trivia question: Who was the one?

  • Kolohe||

    * How can Dems be worse at winning when the president isn't running (0.316) than when challenging the incumbent president (0.400)?

    Theoretical republicans are better than actual republicans?

  • No Name Guy||

    Isn't it silly to use "rosters" that are several decades (or centuries) old?

  • sports stats geek||

    Isn't it silly to use "rosters" that are several decades (or centuries) old?

    Yes.

  • Kolohe||

    Very easy trivia question: Who was the one?

    jfk.

    fdr really skews the 20th cent stats.

  • Kolohe||

    I'm taking a test drive of the Charlie Jade show.

    After a decent start, nothing has happened in over twenty minutes.

    They could have condensed all this exposition into about a single credit to 1st break 7 1/2 min segment.

    Someone needs writing lessons from Ron Moore.

  • Kolohe||

    Man, this make Vanilla Sky seem breakneck.

    And I liked that movie and abre los ojos

  • Colin||

    So how'd Barr do?

  • ||

    So how'd Barr do?

    He wasn't bad. Barr is the kind of guy who...he doesn't really lie or completely flip flop, but he does skew the discussion to be closer to whoever the audience is. Beck was mocking libertarians who want to legalize marijuana, and Barr kind of just sat there. Drugs never came up, and Barr didn't defend decriminalization.

    He wasn't too bad on the war and flat out said we should get out, but took the more pragmatic route of a safe, organized withdrawal rather than a 'just come home' like Ron Paul kept saying. I'm with Barr on that one. He also talked about closing the 700-whatever military bases, as long as it doesn't impact our national security or national interests. Ehhh, a little weak, but we knew that already.

    Beck was big on energy and oil drilling tonight, and both agreed we needed to drill more and that we were falling behind energy technology and development. Barr sort of mocked global warming, and whatever your feelings are on that, it's probably not the best strategy to win over young people as he's trying to do.

    I guess he didn't do too bad. I supported Barr's nomination, but I'd still prefer to see someone like Mary Ruwart up there. Then again, Ruwart wouldn't be getting an entire hour on a sort of popular cable news show or any of the other mainstream exposure, so as long as he's able to spread any kind of libertarianism, I'm still supporting him.

  • SIV||

    Barr sort of mocked global warming, and whatever your feelings are on that, it's probably not the best strategy to win over young people as he's trying to do.

    Are you saying we are lost as a civilization?
    If professed belief in "global warming" is some sort of test I suppose we are

  • Gene Trosper||

    I think Obama's speech to AIPAC pretty much has ruled him out as a peace candidate. A man who promises Israel that he will do "everything" in his power to keep Iran from getting nuclear weapons is dangerous, IMO.

    http://antiwar.com/justin/?articleid=12944

  • ||

    As if Obama was ever going to do anything but kowtow to AIPAC.

  • Episiarch||

    The O-bomb needs those Jewish votes, man. Gotta go to the mat for Israel.

    Of course, McCain will probably double down on any promises Obama makes to Israel, so it's more of the usual.

  • ||

    In a democracy, why should Senator Clinton's loyalties to the democratic party transcend her loyalties to the 18 million Americans who voted for her? In a democracy, why should the self interest of a few hundred party delegates transcend 18 million popular votes? Although Senator Clinton is being made out to be the spoiler, I see the DNC as the spoiler of democracy ... that's why I'm a democrat of 40 years, who will be voting for McCain in November.

  • ||

    Here's something to toss into the mix

    If Ryan Frederick is up for the death penalty, what should this guy get?


    Oh, fuck. You just know that fucktard inspector has never made the connection between his corruption and the deaths caused by collapsing cranes. Just isolated incidents completely unrelated to his method of doing business. I could rant for a few thousand words about government safety inspectors but readers here are already familiar with the incompetence and corruption that is endemic in the profession.

    Hey Nick, how about a story or series on government safety/code inspectors corruption and incompetence? Somebody should do a Balko number on these guys.

  • Elemenope||

    In a democracy, why should Senator Clinton's loyalties to the democratic party transcend her loyalties...

    I see a troll wandered in from the land of imagination.

  • ||

    Crane inspecting bribe taker should get the double death penalty. As should anyone put in charge of the public safety who deliberately commits acts against said safety.

    That'll happen right after cops start getting charged with asssault and battery. You know better. He's in the club. 6 months in a minimum security country club for him. He may have to work in the laundry.

  • ||

    Reason readers have a knee-jerk reaction to socialists (when they mean social programs and not state owned industry) but give a pass to fascists like Bush/Cheney.

    shrike has been reading bizarro Reason again.

  • ||

    Boy do I love reading Raimondo (for the entertainment value, that is):

    The coming war with Iran...It's all about preserving Israeli hegemony in the Middle East by wiping any and all recalcitrant Arab-Muslim states off the map. First Iraq, then Iran - and Syria will have its turn soon enough...

    Cute! So Israel has hegemony in the Middle East? And Iran is an "Arab-Muslim" state?

    Poor Justin gets all wrapped around the axle about some words.

  • ||

    And no candidate for American political office would ever promise to "annihilate" the Iranians to prevent them from threatening Israel.

  • ||

    in March, it was discovered that four high-tech nose cone fuses for Minuteman nuclear warheads were sent - a year and a half earlier - to Taiwan in place of helicopter batteries.

    ....

    Since 9/11, President Bush has repeatedly said keeping nuclear weapons safe and out of the hands of terrorists and other adversaries is a priority. That is why the United States has spent millions of dollars trying to secure nuclear stockpiles at vulnerable facilities in Russia and other countries. Now, as we have seen not once but twice, America's own vaunted military failed to perform one of the most essential missions required to protect the country - securing the nuclear arsenal.



    The Times


    Who is the bigger nuclear threat; Iran, or America?

  • tarran||

    I guess the question would be which country has killed more innocent people through aerial bombardment? ;)

  • bling||

    A man who promises Israel that he will do "everything" in his power to keep Iran from getting nuclear weapons is dangerous

    A politician can define "in his power" to mean anything, including shrugging his shoulders and walking away. That's not a statement that in itself would worry me.

  • ||

    And no candidate for American political office would ever promise to "annihilate" the Iranians to prevent them from threatening Israel.

    What politician said this?

  • ||

    "I want the Iranians to know that if I'm the president, we will attack Iran," Clinton said. "In the next 10 years, during which they might foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them."

  • ||

    "In a democracy, why should Senator Clinton's loyalties to the democratic party transcend her loyalties to the 18 million Americans who voted for her? In a democracy, why should the self interest of a few hundred party delegates transcend 18 million popular votes? Although Senator Clinton is being made out to be the spoiler, I see the DNC as the spoiler of democracy ... that's why I'm a democrat of 40 years, who will be voting for McCain in November."

    Because she told those 18 million voters she was a Democrat, that she wanted to represent the party and the ideals of the party.

    The DNC would have counted MI and FL just fine if they would have followed the rules given them. In fact, all candidates would have then contested them.

    I doubt you are a 40 year Democrat who will be supporting McCain in November unless you are in fact crazy or retarded.

  • ||

    "McCain began his answer by changing the words to a popular Beach Boys song.
    "Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran," he sang to the tune of Barbara Ann. "Iran is dedicated to the destruction of Israel. That alone should concern us but now they are trying for nuclear capabilities. I totally support the President when he says we will not allow Iran to destroy Israel.""

  • ||

    Our next Secretary of Defense.

  • ||

    As to the crane inspector, uhhh, there would be no such guy in Libertopia to even bribe right? Everyone would just get their own crane and go to work, no silly government to go through, and common law torts (after being "reformed" of course, i.e., making it harder for people killed/maimed by cranes to sue the corps operating them) left to clean up the mess.

    Of course noone would operate the cranes negligently in Libertopia because it would bring torts (reformed of course) and bad press and hurt their bottom line and noone ever does anything that hurts their long term bottom line...

    Or maybe even better: the sudden formation of spontaneous voluntary associations of crane inspectors roaming the country, bribery proof and on horseback...

  • ||

    "I guess the question would be which country has killed more innocent people through aerial bombardment? ;)"

    tarran, world surveys show that majorities in a wide array of countries find the U.S. and Israel to be greater threats to peace than China or Iran. I guess from one point of view, recently Israel has struck Lebanon in a major action, carried out major actions in Gaza and a minor one against Syria while the United States has carried out a major action in Iraq. On the other side you could argue that Iran's operatives carry out an action against their neighbor Iraq and China has rattled some sabers at Taiwan...

    I think this view misses some prominent facts (such as how poorly China and Iran treat their own citizens compared to how well Israel and the US treat theirs) but there is some technical truth to it...

  • tarran||

    Mr Nice Guy,

    In "Libertopia", the crane inspections would be done by insurance companies. I doubt anybody would hire a contractor to build a high rise without insisting that they be bonded. Now, guess what happens to the insurance company whose inspectors gundeck inspections?

    That's right, it goes out of business since it will have to do massive payouts - and it's reputation will be destroyed!

    So, will the City of New York go out of business? Hell, their schools suck, their police suck, their streets are poorly maintained. Their subways are godawful. They keep declaring bankruptcy.

    Yet, somehow, they never go out of business!

    Odd that.

  • Apaulogist||

    Ayn Randian-
    You know damn well Raimondo wasn't saying Iran is Arab. That's McCain's shtick. Lump all the camel-jockeys, ragheads and hajis together so they will be easier to bomb.

    Justin got the story right and you don't know shiite.

  • ||

  • ||

    Mute the TV and look at HIllary's face. Interesting expression.

    I think she's using the anger that wells up inside of her when she has to say "...and THAT is WHY we NEED to ELECT BARACK OBAMA PRESIDENT" to provide some emotion for the rest of her speech, because she ain't feelin' it.

  • ||

    tarran
    Like Arthur Anderson would never have risked its reputation and bottom line to make a lil' money fudging the books for Enron?

    As to NYC or any municipality, they do "go out of business" all the time, every time the voters change administrations. Of course the municipality does not go out of business, because many of the services they provide are necessary and noone else does them.

  • No Name Guy||

    Did anyone else hear some booing?

  • Kolohe||

    Dang, McKay is like Mr Olympics, too; it's a shame he just missed the one coming up.

  • Kolohe||

    Clinton's speech is so far Ok, it has given full throttles support for Obama, but I think it would have benefited a little from more brevity.

  • ||

    I do think it is fucked up that for over 200 years of its existence we have had no President or Vice President from a group that represents over 50% of our population.

  • ||

    I don't begrudge Hillary for giving a victory speech Tuesday night.

    But she should have done it in South Dakota, with her victorious local staff and supporters.

  • ||

    If I were HRC I would run for Gov. of NY. Why not? She'd win easy.

    Course I've always thought being a Senator is a bigger deal...

  • ||

    MNG, I think Obama should give a Speech on Gender.

    There has been some pretty vile stuff thrown at Hillary Clinton. I think it's past time he said something about that.

  • No Name Guy||

    My nightmare scenario is Hillary as Attorney General.

  • ||

    She would have so totally kicked McCain's ass. I mean, just about any plausible Democrat would win, but he wouldn't have gotten up after she beat him.

  • No Name Guy||

    Joe, only if Bill had been able to keep it in his pants.

  • ||

    You know damn well Raimondo wasn't saying Iran is Arab.

    uh, no I don't. The quote is clear.

    I note you didn't address the laughable assertion on Raimondo's part that says that Israel has regional "hegemony". No matter how badly you contort the definition of "hegemony", Israel does not have it.

  • ||

    No Name Guy,

    I agree with the sentiment, but I'm not sure what the second half of the sentence should be.

    There are so many different ways for that to go.

  • ||

    joe
    I agree.

    I imagine a crucial difference among folks could be found in how they react to the fact that this nation has never in its history had a nationwide elected position go to a woman.

    Folks like me and you see it as lamentable and are willing to see government efforts to change such a culture or structures that keeps that from happening.

    Folks like fluffy would probably find it lamentable but would note that the government had a big hand in holding women down and that its efforts to "remedy" the past may make things worse or infringe on rights.

    Folks like Guy Montag or SIV would say "Life is tough bitches, deal with it. I'm glad that dyke-cunt went down"

  • ||

    A-R
    Hegemony for Israel in the Middle East is a stupid term. If he had said "military might" it would have been more correct.

  • Kolohe||

    She would have so totally kicked McCain's ass. I mean, just about any plausible Democrat would win, but he wouldn't have gotten up after she beat him.

    I disagree. The VRWC(TM) would have rolled through their old haunts, telling the gang "we're getting the band back together."

    Her victory would be by no means impossible, but I think the most difficult, being as she is a 'known known.'

  • ||

    Hegemony is a word like neocon these days, it means a lot of things, and people think it makes them sound intelligent if they throw it out...

    Raimondo has his heart in the right place on the issue of war, but I've never thought he was some scholar or something...

  • ||

    Kolohe - I disagree with that. The country is center-right; Hillary is seen as an anti-war (now) centrist, a very electable position.

    The RNC and the right is not going to give Obama a free pass on his quasi-socialism.

    Which is fine...if I was IRVing the Prez candidates, I'd pick Barr first and McCain second.

  • ||

    Was Obama not there? WTF. They should have him come out at the end and hug her and her raise his hand and then him praise her a bit.

    I'm being serious. That would have played really well.

  • No Name Guy||

    AR, after a few weeks of running off at the mouth (and God knows what else) by former President Pump Head, her poll numbers would take a dive.

    He lost the election for Gore, now hes lost it for his wife.

  • ||

    Israel can't make anyone do anything. They can't stop people in territory they control stop firing rockets into their cities.

    Hegemon my butt. They're about as much of a regional hegemon as Hezbollah. Maybe less.

  • ||

    MNG,

    Too soon. The Hillaryites would have booed him.

    Ayn Randian, the Democrats have 15-30 point advantages in issue polls on things you would describe as "socialism." If "socialism" was the only thing people voted on this fall, the Democrats would control 65% of Congress.

    Center right? Social Security privatization was the beginning of the end of Bush's presidency.

  • ||

    Center right? Social Security privatization was the beginning of the end of Bush's presidency.

    Social Security reform isn't seen as a center-right position, joe. It's perceived as extreme market-ism.

    I can't name a President in the past 50 years who wouldn't be classified as center-right in terms of how it's used in continental philosophy.

  • ||

    The Republicans know they can't win an election based on economic issues. They've known that since FDR. They know social issues are their strong points (if you can call the Dems stand on the economic issues quasi-socialism can I call the GOP stand on social issues quasi-theocratic, because they seem equally accurate), as well as foriegn policy (though probably not this time for the latter!).

  • ||

    McCain's selling points won't be:
    1. Obama's health care plan expands government
    2. Obama will not lower the corporate tax rate

    It will be:
    1. Gays getting married!
    2. Guns being taken from homes!
    3. Jihadists in your neighborhood!
    4. Obama goes to a crazy black church!

  • No Name Guy||

    MNG, you forgot "empty suit", "creepy cult leader", "elite" and "reverse racist".

  • ||

    "empty suit" is a fair shot.

    FWIW, the Right Radio folks and McCain seem to currently be trumpeting the fact that, for all of Obama's talk of "change", his policies are stale and old.

    I have to agree.

  • No Name Guy||

    They're also beginning the "serial exaggerator" schtick they used on Al Gore. Theres an email floating around talking about how Obama exaggerated things in his bio.

  • Kolohe||

    The RNC and the right is not going to give Obama a free pass on his quasi-socialism.

    You're correct, they are not. I hear on the off-brand talk radio I sometimes catch on the way to & from work, plus Hannity I occasionally see during the day. And they play up the 'liberal voting record' but even more so Ayers and Wright.

    But the main advantage of Obama's voting record, is that it's so short, one can project their own preferences on it in a myriad of different ways. "Quasi-socialist?" Maybe. But also remember the strum & drang - from the left - when Obama said nice things about Reagan. This is Obama's strength - his ability to be all things to all people, even by the standards of a politician. And his ability, so far at least, to maintain these contradictions in a Tokamak plasma field containment is unmatched in modern politics - or at least since Bill Clinton and Reagan.

    Hillary, otoh, was fatally wounded by these same contradictions. Her two main center-right positions - robust foreign policy (i.e. AUMF) and free trade - she ran aggressively away from. She's a femminist who 'stood by her man' for political viability. (though, heck, I'm not discounting that she may actually love the guy).

  • ||

    "Hillary, otoh, was fatally wounded by these same contradictions. "

    I disagree. I mean, they've thrown stuff after stuff against HRC and she still wallops the RNC candidate in the polls (a far worse walloping than Obama does). I mean, there would be little more they could stick on her.

  • Kolohe||


    I can't name a President in the past 50 years who wouldn't be classified as center-right in terms of how it's used in continental philosophy.


    Johnson would have been right a home with the British labour party, if maybe a little more toward the Blairite bent. And whatever party Francois Mitterand was in; I think they are very close in both political philosophy and as individual personalities.

  • Kolohe||

    I disagree. I mean, they've thrown stuff after stuff against HRC and she still wallops the RNC candidate in the polls (a far worse walloping than Obama does). I mean, there would be little more they could stick on her.

    The right has pulled their punches on Hillary since it became clear that Obama was the new front runner (i.e. after Iowa)

    She had a low voltage interview on O'Reilly, of all people.

  • ||

    Johnson would have been right a home with the British labour party, if maybe a little more toward the Blairite bent. And whatever party Francois Mitterand was in; I think they are very close in both political philosophy and as individual personalities.

    I thought of Johnson as a counter-example, but his policies were certainly nowhere near Mitterand's (who nationalized a mess of industries and mandated 5 weeks of vacation a year...along with a huge jump in the minimum wage).

    Perhaps their philosophies were close (idk) but enacted policy differed quite a bit.

  • Apaulogist||

    "I note you didn't address the laughable assertion on Raimondo's part that says that Israel has regional "hegemony". No matter how badly you contort the definition of 'hegemony', Israel does not have it."

    The Neocon/Likudniks control AIPAC, which means they control U.S. foreign policy. That, coupled with Israel's nukes, gives them de facto hegemony. It would be laughable if it wasn't true.

    If they can even make BHO bow down and kiss the ring, how does the word "hegemony" not fit?

  • ||

    Ayn Randian,

    It's perceived as extreme market-ism.

    Yes, it is. Even as squishy as that program is, the American public perceived it as an extremist conservative position. The allegedly center-right American public.

    But to take your use of the term, if you are putting Jimmy Carter, LBJ, and JFK into the category "center-right," than Barack Obama fits right in there nicely.

  • Kolohe||

    Hypothesis's which need supporting data that I do not have:

    The record turnout and record Democratic party registration was spurred more by Obama attracting new people of all economic levels and varied political leanings, than by Hillary attracting ancient suffragettes who voted for the first time because they could finally at long last vote for a woman.

    The 'operation chaos' affect, if it even exists, augmented Hillary's numbers, and so will not a a net loss for Obama.

    And prediction-
    The record registration and record turnout will bump Obama in the swing states of the mountain west and upper mississipi, giving him the electoral college victory

    The evangelical vote which was bush's key to victory in the last two cycles will simply not come out in numbers as large, despite the presence of a black nationalist socialist muslim terrorist maoist.

  • ||

    The reasons why we have never had a female president or vice president are:

    1) Women have only been allowed to vote for slightly less than a century. Shameful, but true.

    2) Until recently in this century, all human societies throughout all of history have been "sexist". The reasons for this have been varied, and not always due to the vast patriarchal conspiracy.

    3) Women have rarely run for president or vice president. Only *one* woman decided to run for either the Republican or Democrat nomination this year. Twenty men but only one woman, in a contest open to anyone.

  • No Name Guy||

    Kolohe, it will either be a huge victory for Obama, or a Dukakis-style defeat. Bubba was right that his party has taken a gamble, it remains to be seen if the gamble will pay off.

  • Kolohe||

    Please note that I do not disagree that America is in aggreagate a center-right country. My basic take is that Obama is actually in a better position to capture that than Hillary Clinton was.

  • Squiggle||

    Bob Barr was on Glenn Beck and nobody noticed? Or is he stale news already?

  • Kolohe||

    NNG- it will come down to six or seven states, and after the conventions, probably break out to no more than three that are still toss-ups in the polls.

  • ||

    FWIW, the Right Radio folks and McCain seem to currently be trumpeting the fact that, for all of Obama's talk of "change", his policies are stale and old.

    I have to agree.


    That's because you are in the minority of the population whose views on economic policy are closer to John McCain's than to Barack Obama's.

    They're talking about what sort of person he is because they need to change the subject from policy, in just about every area under the sun, and especially economic policy.

  • ||

    Kolohe,

    The evangelical vote which was bush's key to victory in the last two cycles will simply not come out in numbers as large, despite the presence of a black nationalist socialist muslim terrorist maoist.

    Technically, the vast majority of black voters count as evangelicals, but I know what you mean.

    Not only will turnout among white evangelicals be down, but Obama will win a higher % of their vote.

    McCain will still carry them by a big margin, but there will be a meaningful crossover vote. Among such a large bloc, even a single-digit switch is significant.

  • ||

    I WANT TO FIX HILLARY CLINTON FOR STAYING WITH BILL WHEN SHE SHOULD HAVE DIVORCED HIM OVER:
    1. HIS ANTIMASTURBATION
    2. HIS CHEATING ADULTERY
    ALSO IM AGAINST HER NOT LISTENING TO ME ABOUT VOTING AGAINST THE ANTI POKER BILL (PHONE CALLS, LETTERS) AND RECEIVING FUNDING FROM HEALTH INSURANCE COMPANIES WHEN THEY ARE ALREADY OVERCHARGING AND AGE DISCRIMINATING. I ALSO BELIEVE LIKE JOE LIEBERMAN THAT BILL CLINTON SHOULD HAVE BEEN IMPEACHED AFTER ILLEGALLY CHEATING ON HIS WIFE.

  • ||

    TYPEING IN ALL CAPS MAKE ME SOUND SO MUCH MOPRE CREDIBLE. I SHOULD START DOING THAT, HUH? DON'T YOU ALL PAY MORE ATTENTION TO MY POST WITH ALL OF THE UPPERCASE LETTERS?

  • ||

    That's because you are in the minority of the population whose views on economic policy are closer to John McCain's than to Barack Obama's.

    This doesn't have anything to do with where I stand, joe. The fact remains that Obama is trumpeting absolutely nothing new.

  • Bingo||

    Caps-lock is cruise control for awesome!

  • ||

    Once upon a time, Ayn Randian, you were talking about Obama being to the left of the voters on economic policy - a "quasi-sosicalist," remember? I was replying to that.

    All-caps comments immediately make me think of old people who speak too loudly because they're starting to go deaf.

  • No Name Guy||

    Name your candidates achievements on his record, Joe, and what is NEW about his policies.

  • Apaulogist||

    "This doesn't have anything to do with where I stand, joe. The fact remains that Obama is trumpeting absolutely nothing new."

    I have to agree with you on that, RandyAyn.

    Brother Barry's kowtow to AIPAC and McCain's flipflops on ethanol, torture, etc show that it's just opportunistic posturing with both candidates, with no principle behind it greater than naked ambition.

  • ||

    No Name Guy,

    I don't like the goalposts over there. We were having a conversation about where Obama's mainline Democratic economic policy stands in relation to the American public. Shall I just take this as everyone acknowledgment that the "quasi-socialist" isn't actually in trouble with the "center-right" American public over his economic policy?

    The only reply I feel like giving to your diversion of the subject is to notice that it exists.

    When it comes to things like Social Security, raising the minimum wage, and including labor and environmental standards in trade deals, Barack Obama's Democratic agenda isn't terribly new. It's completely in keeping with the Democratic tradition.

  • ||

    Once upon a time, Ayn Randian, you were talking about Obama being to the left of the voters on economic policy - a "quasi-sosicalist," remember? I was replying to that.

    I remember you saying something that Barack Obama's policies poll better than McCain's...but I must have missed the link or evidence to back that assertion.

    And if the majority polled back Barack's positions, that makes them quasi-socialist...but to me, polls are generally worthless because of the way a lot of the questions are framed.

    The only polls worth noting are those that pose clear, objective questions, such as "of these, whom do you support?"...questions on policy are almost always "Do you support cutting out government medical support for babies and old people???"

  • tarran||

    Sigh,

    OK Let's wade through this, shall we?

    tarran
    Like Arthur Anderson would never have risked its reputation and bottom line to make a lil' money fudging the books for Enron?



    Thank you for bolstering my point MNG! Seriously. Bad people exist. Lazy people exist. Cheats will always be with us.

    Would you rather invest in a company whose accountants face the possibility of serious financial loss if even one of their number is caught fudging figures, or in one where they face no financial loss?

    was it governemnt regulators who picked up on Enron's fraud? No! It was an insider. And why did she blow the whistle? Well, let's ask her:


    I am incredibly nervous that we will implode in a wave of accounting scandals. My 8 years of Enron work history will be noting on my resume; the business world will consider the past successes as nothing but an elaborate hoax(emphasis added)


    Gosh, who would have thunk it, people trying to do the right thing ot of concern for their future earnings. Shocking!


    As to NYC or any municipality, they do "go out of business" all the time, every time the voters change administrations.



    Really?

    How many bridge inspectors are laid off every time a Republican succeeds a Democrat in office? Outside of a smattering of jobs, the same people are doing the same jobs year in year out! In the meantime every employee of Enron, of Arthur Andersen had to convince someone to rehire them after their company went belly up.

    Let's see, who has the incentive to police his coworkers, a guy who is afraid of his company being bankrupted by his coworkers corrupt practices or the guy who faces no repercussions whatsoever so long as he maintains plausible deniability?

    Whom do you think MNG? is it the accountant for th efirm that can go out of business? Or iti t the one working for a firm that won't go out of business no matter what?


    Of course the municipality does not go out of business, because many of the services they provide are necessary and noone else does them.



    Really? Is that why they make it hard to start a private school in NYC? To keep out all the people who don't want to run schools?

    Is that why they make it against the law start your own bus company? To keep out all those people who don't want to enter the livery market?

    Is that why they make it onerous to start a private fire-fighting service?

    Perhaps "no-one" is providing those services because the municipality is threatening people with kidnapping if they try it at all, or try it without jumping through a bunch of hoops.

  • ||

    Ayn Radian,

    I remember you saying something that Barack Obama's policies poll better than McCain's...but I must have missed the link or evidence to back that assertion.

    I've posted this before, but I'll be happy to put it up again.

    http://www.pollingreport.com/prioriti.htm

    Scroll down a bit, and it changes from "What is the most important issue?" to "What party do you trust on the issues?" You can judge the questions for yourself.

    Check out the enormous Democratic lead on taxes. I love that one.

  • No Name Guy||

    Joe I'm not Ayn Randian so I wasn't moving anything. I think its a question Obama will have to answer.

    OTOH if he plays the "Washington outsider" role, maybe he won't.

  • ||

    And if the majority polled back Barack's positions, that makes them quasi-socialist

    Yup, by your eccentric definition of "quasi-socialist," they are. And not center-right.

  • ||

    and just how is my definition "eccentric"?

    You can judge the questions for yourself.

    OK...and I find them wanting. For one, the general disaffection with President Bush and the Republican party could be driving that six-month slice of numbers to which you linked.

    I'm speaking in generalities, joe, not immediate opinions. Temporary shifts in support on issues from one party to another is NOT indicative of the country's general philosophy, which I still maintain is center-right. The Democratic Party in practice would be seen as a centrist party abroad.

  • ||

    No Name Guy,

    Ah, since you asked the same question at the same time as A.R., I just sort of put you together.

    OTOH if he plays the "Washington outsider" role, maybe he won't.

    I think he'll have to show enough accomplishments to seem weighty enough. Which is a bar he can clear.

    The achievement by Barack Obama that I consider most impressive is his successful sponsorship of a bill, while in the Illinois legislature, to require police to videotape the interrogations and confessions of murder suspects. If you remember, there were scandals in Illinois about innocent people being sent to death row, and police mistreating suspects.

    So, he sponsors the bill, and everyone is against it. The police unions, the police chiefs, the Mayor of Chicago, the DAs, the Republican caucus and, therefore, most of the Democrat caucus. He then went about talking each one of those people into supporting it. The bill passed the Senate unanimously, and the House by a big margin. It was signed by the governor, and is a model for similar bills across the country.

    I like that one, because it not only tells us a great deal about his priorities and proclivities, but because it also demonstrates an ability to work across the aisle to get things done.

  • stephen the goldberger||

    What is Antimasturbation? My first guess would be Hillary Clinton, my second guess would be REO Speedwagon.

  • ||

    but because it also demonstrates an ability to work across the aisle to get things done.

    I don't know what Fantasy Land you currently inhabit, joe, but Obama is not some centrist who "works across the aisle"...he's very much an American leftist and partisan.

  • Saturday Political Thread||

    1. One of those that Reason in effect supports will be visiting our fair land next week; maybe Weigel could go meet him and offer Reason's help in his endeavors.

    2. The scheme that doesn't exist was promoted in the WaPo. Is that a sign that Reason should switch from "deny" mode to "promote" mode?

    3. Here are my 2008 presidential predictions.

    4. Here's some anti-prog Bobarr can add to his page. Rumor has it that Lemmy is going to cover that song and video.

  • ||

    3. Here are my 2008 presidential predictions.

    oh good...Christ I was starting to worry I wouldn't get my lonewacko fix. What would I ever have done without some baseless predictions from a running joke of Hit&Run?

  • ||

    What is Antimasturbation?

    Your answers are good, stephen (I tried to listen to REO Speedwagon once, it did nothing for me), but I'm going to say that temperature-related shrinkage is "antimasturbation", at least for males.

  • ||

    running joke of Hit&Run?

    To be fair, he's at least as good as Ann Coulter.

  • ||

    Barring an unforeseen apocalypse, we will have a female president, hopefully in the near future. However, I did not support Hillary Clinton (I've seen a look in her eyes several times that really and truly scared me).

  • ||

    tarran
    I'm not sure you have it right about what Sharon Watkins did during the Enron scandal.
    http://www.forbes.com/2002/02/14/0214watkins.html

    But more generally, notice that Arthur Anderson engaged in practices over a period of time which surely harmed third parties and could have meant (and did) complete destruction of itself. It did this because of incentives that the market itself provided. Obviously there are times when empirically the market can not only sanction but provide incentives for people to do these kinds of things.

    You seem to come at it, as most libertarians do, with a working idea of economics, so surely you know about the idea of incentives. And surely you can then see that government backed sanctions can work as an incentive. If we can use those incentives to counter the harmful incentives created, fostered, or simply allowed by markets then that is a good thing, no?

    "Outside of a smattering of jobs, the same people are doing the same jobs year in year out!" The supervisors, which are the most important ones, can be shown the door after elections. And yes, government workers, plain ordinary ones, can then be fired for willfully countering the new administrators. On the other hand, many large companies keep terrible people "year in and year out."

    "Perhaps "no-one" is providing those services because the municipality is threatening people with kidnapping if they try it at all, or try it without jumping through a bunch of hoops."
    You do know that governments once did very few things. The market was left to do most things. People overwhelmingly did not find that a good system and voted, service after service, to get the government involved. If the market had been working wonderfully why would they do that?

  • ||

    The Democratic Party in practice would be seen as a centrist party abroad. And yet, quasi-socialist by your definition.

    Whatever. You can use words to mean things at variance with how everybody understands them if you want. The point is, you asserted tha the "quasi-socialist" Obama is going to have trouble in a "center-right" country, and that's nonsense. The things you are calling "quasi-socialist," like Social Security, universal health care, and the raising the minimum wage, are about as popular as mom and apple pie.

    I don't know what Fantasy Land you currently inhabit, joe, but Obama is not some centrist who "works across the aisle"...he's very much an American leftist and partisan. OK. I guess I just imagined that story I just told about him getting a pro-rights-of-the-accused bill through the Illinois legislature with Republican support. And the work he's done with Dick Lugar to revive Nunn-Lugar. And the Earmark Transparency bill he cosponsored with John McCain and Tom Coburn in 2006. Or the government-contract transparency bill he, McCain, and Coburn are working together on right now.

    He's a partisan, in that he belongs to a political party, but this is how he's worked as a legislator.

  • No Name Guy||

    To be fair, the left will attack McCain with this list:

    1) Hes old

    2) Hes angry

    3) Hes a trigger-happy warmonger

    4) Hes a bit crazy

    5) He loves lobbyists

    6) He has a stepford wife

    7) He had some photo ops with George Bush

  • ||

    And yet, quasi-socialist by your definition.

    Try to get it through your head that Barack Obama does not equal "The Democratic Party".

    The things you are calling "quasi-socialist," like Social Security, universal health care, and the raising the minimum wage, are about as popular as mom and apple pie.

    those are socialist programs, joe...and you'll find that there's no shortage of support for a safety net in the center-right.

    I think you're exaggerating the support for national health care. Which, of course, also depends on how you define it.

  • ||

    If the market had been working wonderfully why would they do that?

    Uhh...I guess I could make the same argument with regards to Iraq War.

    Popular does not always = right.

  • Fluffy||

    People overwhelmingly did not find that a good system and voted, service after service, to get the government involved. If the market had been working wonderfully why would they do that?

    Perhaps it's because in a market system the people who want to use a service must pay for it, while in a state system the people who want to use a service can force everyone else to pay for it.

    Let's talk about Enron and Arthur Andersen for a while.

    Like most of the sins of "late capitalism" regularly trumpeted by state apologists, there's a whole lot of government policy and a whole lot of non-market or extra-market history that led into these events.

    The Enron failure was for all practical purposes a bank run. Enron was an investment bank that had disguised itself as an energy company. The frauds that Enron had engaged in weren't deceptions that covered up an underlying insolvency; they were frauds designed to add GAAP earnings on the margin, to drive up the price of the publicly-traded stock. Enron was essentially solvent until its accounting scandals led to its trading partners cutting them off as a bad counterparty risk - the institutional version of a bank run, something very similar to what happened to Bear Stearns recently.

    Arthur Andersen was caught up in the scandal because its major businesses were providing accounting services for publicly-traded companies, and consulting with those companies on the creation of exotic financial instruments and organizational structures designed to maximize GAAP earnings for SEC reports.

    These facts are important to keep in mind because they make the Enron/Arthur Andersen scandal essentially a creature of the so-called public markets.

    It is customary in the US for the Wall Street markets to be seen as the embodiment of unbridled capitalism, and they really aren't. What they are is a complex system of federal regulation designed to foster "confidence" in publicly-traded companies, to facilitate the growth of those companies via debt and capital aggregation and intermediation. Their existence is a deliberate policy choice of the state, to attempt to use regulation to make it possible for small investors to trust people they have never met and of whom they have no knowledge - in order to allow corporations to grow larger, or to grow more quickly, than they would have in the days when trust was based on the personal or family qualities of the entrepreneur behind the corporation or the bank doing the underwriting for the corporation's stock. The complex rules regarding accounting, corporate reporting, transparency, etc., are designed to allow corporations and investors to trust each other without actually having to do anything to establish trust beyond participating in the regulated system.

    This has two unintended consequences. First, it allows corporations to be much larger and more powerful than they would otherwise be. The social and economic effects of this are open to debate. Second, it creates a situation where the "incentive problem" MNG talks about looms pretty large. As long as a corporation can do the bare minimum necessary to keep the SEC from shutting them down, they are in a position to command broad respect from investors that they may not deserve. The highly technical nature of the regulations in question also creates a milieu where a company like Arthur Andersen can begin to see its task as ensuring technical compliance and nothing else; the exotic techniques their consultants were using to build earnings or smooth earnings in that context begin to look not like "frauds" but simply "innovation". By trying to facilitate the operation of the market, the state has in a sense corrupted it, or at least created an environment where corruption can hide behind the wall of paper the SEC requires.

  • No Name Guy||

    In addition to what AR said, maybe because they're being constantly told by the sensationalist media and Democrats looking to get elected that there is a "health care crisis"?

    Its called "the big lie".

  • ||

    Precisely, NNG...the health care crisis is a lie, lie, lie. I'm surprised that someone as ostensibly honest as joe would buy into such nonsense.

  • ||

    He lost the election for Gore

    Clinton didn't lose the election for Gore. Clinton's approval rating by the end of his term was 66%. He would have won reelection in a walk if he could have run again. Gore lost the election by ignoring that and abandoning Clinton while trying to run a bizarrely populist "outsider" type campaign. Had he run a "stay the course and finish what Clinton started" type campaign he would have won handily. As it is, he still managed to win the popular vote and damn near the election despite his inept campaign.

    And yes, Nader also cost him the win, but that doesn't change the fact that he had to work to lose that election.

  • Fluffy||

    BTW, I think the degree to which the "change" hunger that is driving Obamania is a desire for economic change is being dramatically exaggerated in this thread.

    A "change" message is tailor-made to beat the GOP this year for non-economic reasons. And there was a huge amount of anti-Bush anger before the economic situation began to deteriorate.

    People want change because they're sick of endless war and sick of having their country humiliated in the eyes of the world by being led by a rube, a charlatan and a pack of baboons.

  • Colin||

    Never once has Obama gone against the wishes of the hard-left socialists. Not Once. He's never crossed the isle on any major issue.

    Obama voted against Chief Justice Roberts for absolutely no reason other than the socialists didn't like the man's formalism. Even Feingold voted for Roberts.

    Obama's proposed banning all gun sales with five-miles of a school or park, which is just about everywhere.

    Obama will implement socialized medicine and force unionization without secret balloting.

    Any liberatarian supporting him is just fooling himself (or herself.)

  • ||

    Don't forget, Colin, that Obama thinks we all need to stop eating so much, driving so much and setting our thermostats on the temperatures for which we're willing to pay the bills. The American citizen's desires have to come second to world opinion.

  • ||

    Any liberatarian supporting him is just fooling himself (or herself.)

    I don't know about that. I could support Bob Barr, but he stands little chance of being elected.

    I could support Obama or McCain, but I don't agree with each and every one of either of their proposed policies.

    But I'm not fooling myself about any of that, the only way I'd be fooling myself is if I thought there were any conceivable outcome that I thought A) were likely to happen and B) I'd be completely happy about.

  • ||

    "health care crisis"?

    I've definitely seen the media play up, or alternatively, play down "crises" or "epidemics" for the news cycles. And I remind myself, that, no matter what, news stations still edit and determine emphasis based upon the discretion of a presumably human editor.

  • Saturday Political Thread||

    Any libertarian with any sense (note: may be empty set) would work to reduce the chances of both BHO and McCain, thereby increasing the chances of a 3rd party candidate.

    They could do that quite easily by encouraging RP's supporters to go out and ask the candidates real questions designed to discredit them.

    Yet, they aren't doing that, and one of the reasons why their leaders aren't pushing that is because, whatever their other faults, both BHO and McCain would be good for business.

  • ||

    Lonewacko, what you said made no sense. But it's alright, I'm sure I didn't understand it because I don't have any sense, as evidenced by the fact that I am a libertarian.

  • tarran||

    A fellow named Edward Bernays was instrumental in the public relations campaign waged by big business and big government calling for increased government regulation to "intelligently" manage the economy.

    He published his theories in books such as Propaganda and papers such as "Engineering Consent" and "Crystalizing Public Opinion".

    His campaigns were used to convince americans to accept federal takeover of the economy in WW I and to get women to take up smoking in the 20's on behalf of tobacco companies. His books were even used by the Nazi's to promote anti-Jewish prejudice in the German population. Everyone who has an interest in politics should read Propaganda. The Anti-Walmart , the Global Warming problem, the Iran Nuclear Program controversy and the Health Care crisis all show clear signs of being campaigns established following his system.

    To answer MNG's question, people "clamored" for municipal monopolies not because they all suddenly wanted them, but rather because successful businessmen, alarmed at competition from upstarts, either lobbied for regulation to preserve their business advantages or, in later years when people began to be skeptical of legislators who made corporatism possible, in propaganda campaigns to convince the people that these regulations were a fine and dandy idea. The end result of these regulations is invariably that the established businesses in a regulated industry are protected from competition at the expense of high costs charged to their customers. The rationale that these regulations somehow protect consumers almost invariably turns out to be contradicted by the actual facts when examined closely.

    As to MNG's question about government supplied incentives, I would like to point out that the only power that government actors have that non-governmental actors lack is the ability to hurt people without serious consequences.

    I am darkly amused that the vast majority of people buy into the backward superstition that such power will encourage them to behave more nicely thant they otherwise would or improve the actions of those they threaten.

  • ||

    Obama can't pick Webb for VP. Webb:
    1) is a first-termer with even less experience than Obama
    2) has no executive experience
    3) is a Republican if he lives anywhere other than the south.
    4) isn't a very good campaigner

    All that said, I'd also be upset to lose the closest thing we've had to a tolerable Senator since I've lived here.

  • dpac||

    It's sad to see the Clintons go out like this. I had always hoped to raise my boys well, telling them: "Even a hillbilly from Hope, Arkansas can grow up to rape a former Miss America. Surely you can grow up to run a hedge fund and support me in my dotage, which I feel coming on pretty fast. And if you can get some pussy with the help of the state police, that's a bonus, boys." That's just the kind of wisdom I'd like to impart to the little bastards I would likely sire.

    Come to think of it, I can still tell them that. Hillary's loss doesn't tarnish Bill's legacy much at all. Now all I need are some kids.

  • ||

    Ah, yes, Bernays. Only a few short months ago, I had for the first time heard of him. Must study.

  • No Name Guy||

    Legate-

    Does running the Navy under Reagan count as "executive experience"?

  • dpsc||

    tarran writes: I would like to point out that the only power that government actors have that non-governmental actors lack is the ability to hurt people without serious consequences.

    It surprises me that this needs to be pointed out- don't people read Hobbes these days? The thing is that I tend to see the ability to threaten people with serious harm as a pretty useful tool in the arsenal of democracy. Or should that be the quiver of freedom?

    Anyway, the question is, how do you constrain the threateners? It seems like a very difficult problem to me.

  • ||

    Tangential meta-comment:

    An interesting feature of the drive-by posters who drift in on links from elsewhere is that they're much like the regular posters on, for instance, CNN's 'Political Ticker' comment threads.

    Which is to say: they show up with an incoherent comment expressing a bizarre point of view, often laced with misspellings and grammatical errors, and then they vanish never to be seen again. Replies to their comments are never acknowledged.

    It seems very much like a 'letter to the editor' model of interaction: the idea that the purpose of commenting is to provide feedback, no matter how incomprehensible, to the author of the original article. It feels very retro, to drop your non-sequitur input into an ongoing comment thread like a turd in a bathtub, quickly fleeing the scene and not looking back.

    I'm probably thinking about this too much. But I wonder if this mode of interaction -- which I've mostly seen in volume over the last year -- represents a 'new wave' of internet discussion participants. Since the earliest days of Usenet there's been the idea that each new wave of internet users is going to ruin the place, but for the most part everyone adjusts to the ground rules of online interaction and joins the mainstream.

    I wonder, though, to what degree people who are apparently consciously rejecting the interactive part of internet forums are likely to assimilate?

  • ||

    isildur ,
    It's time to change the name of this cyber place, isn't it?
    I'm all right with that.
    I vote for "Big Hunt."

  • ||

    "in order to allow corporations to grow larger, or to grow more quickly, than they would have in the days when trust was based on the personal or family qualities of the entrepreneur behind the corporation or the bank doing the underwriting for the corporation's stock." I'm not sure this state of affairs ever existed. I don't think states started passing blue sky laws, with the feds soon following, because they wanted to create public markets as much as they were forced to respond to the many betrayals of trust and frauds that were being perpetrated on the public. The market often pushes people to do more and more outrageous acts until they finally get regulated. They really asked for it.

    Sure, behind many ULTIMATE (final) acts of regulation you can find big business, but usually business fights the very idea of regulation for as long as it can, and THEN tries to get it on favorable terms as possible (you can see this right now with payday loans, for years they argued "no problem here" now they bigger chains are arguing "well of COURSE we need to address the bad apples, but don't throw the baby out with the bathwater...").

    Near where I live there is two lane windy rural road, but it is a cut-through between two major interstates that can save a person about 15 minutes than going to the point where the the two interstates actually connect. So trucking companies have a tremondous incentive to take it. However, since so many take it the people who live off the road are complaining and there is soon talk of making it a "local traffic only" road. As it is the police ticket the living hell out of trucks that go through there. But these fuckers need that 15 minutes or their competitor will get there first, so everyone of them still takes it killing the golden egg laying goose.

    The market does this a lot actually.

    "I would like to point out that the only power that government actors have that non-governmental actors lack is the ability to hurt people without serious consequences." By your own outrage over its effects you acknowledge what a potent incentive it can be my friend...

  • Apaulogist||

    "the ability to threaten people with serious harm as a pretty useful tool in the arsenal of democracy."-dpsc

    maybe so, but it's a very expensive tool in many different ways.

  • dpsc||

    Isildur swallowed a ring of power and then vomited this: Since the earliest days of Usenet...

    Well, my young Padawan, have you ever considered that the death of threading has had a great deal to do with this? For a magazine called Reason, this forum has very little, if any, threading. Though I suppose it is not as big a problem as it is on the forum of the black fashion magazine known as "Threads".

    Don't get me started on the top posting, let alone the terrible quoting etiquette. I don't want to get too meta here, but I should point out that I've been on the internet since the early 30s- almost certainly longer than you have. It's always been like this.

    I must take issue with your metaphor (or actually is that a simile?). No sensible person would shit in a bathtub and then flee, unless the bathtub were run by the state. As we discovered when I was about 15, shit does not instantly mix with water in the way you might think it would. Instead, it forms the most beautiful patterns- if I could just get Amedhinejad and Sharon in there, there would be no need for a mideast peace process.

  • Colin||

    It surprises me that this needs to be pointed out- don't people read Hobbes these days?

    I'm afraid, only the one with Calvin.

  • ||

    "A fellow named Edward Bernays was instrumental in the public relations campaign waged by big business and big government calling for increased government regulation to "intelligently" manage the economy."

    Oh, bullshit. All those people, across the world in different nations, across this nation in different states, all turned to state regulation after state regulation because of this one guy and his magic propaganda method. Bullshit. Why not just say it was the Illumanti?

    You bring up the Iraq War, which has been going on for several years. But the move to increased regulation was replicated in literally hundreds of acts enacted at the state and federal level, over and over, few of which have been repealed.

    Maybe the people were on to something? What probably happened were countless examples of the "trucks going down the road" example I gave above.

    And the idea that all the regulation is actually the tool of big business is a bit goofy. Thats why NAM and the Chamber of Commerce are in bed with Public Citizen, eh? It's more accurate to say that regulation is heavily influenced by businesses but is also a response to conditions created by businesses...

  • ||

    Notice how fluffy argues that the bad part of Enron is a result of government interference while A-R argues the good part Enron is a result of, you guessed it, the market. Cake and eating it too...

    I see this a lot around here. All bad things must be traced back to the government, all good things to the market. Of course, since there has never been a perfect market system or perfect command system, you just have to take some part of any example, find the market part and credit it for any good effects and then find the government part and credit it with any of the bad (Ex. Great Depression? Not a result of the much lower state of regulation but actually caused by what little regulation (the tariff, or the fed) that was there!).

    My Marxist buddies in college used to do this: the reason why communism seems to fail is they have never REALLY tried it. It's all these mixed systems...

    It starts to seem like some of the worst forms of evolutionary psychology (where one guy argues that natural selection would of course foster monogamous men [since they would stick around to ensure the survival of their kids and genes more and mates would select them for these qualities] and another guy argues that of course it fosters unfaithful men [since they can spread their seed and hence their genes more]).

    Maybe you have a deontological position that any coercion of another through government is morally wrong. I can respect that (I think its nuts, but I can respect it). But so many want a much grander claim: that as an empirical fact markets always produce results superior than anything else, and that as an empirical fact government coercion always makes conditions worse. Such an absolutist stance seems to me bound to fail (it's like the "always" or "never" snuck into true false questions to give you a hint on how to answer).

  • Bored at work||

    Though I suppose it is not as big a problem as it is on the forum of the black fashion magazine known as "Threads".

    So on a lark I googled.

    There is in fact a magazine called Threads

    It has as discussion forum.

    And requires a login to participate or even view.

    Although you can see the latest topics on the homepage:
    "What is your worst sewing fear?"

  • dpsc||

    I'm afraid, only the one with Calvin.

    I suppose that explains the judiciary's love for Calvinball.

    maybe so, but it's a very expensive tool in many different ways.

    Yes- that was my point, or at least part of it. What kind of bathtub do you have?

    Mr Nice Guy: I've always liked smart bastards better than nice idiots.

  • dpsc||

    Bored: I guess that the good Rev. Dodgson's work is as obscure as Hobbes these days. I was not referring to the magazine "Threads". I was referencing, and I think I clearly stated this, the magazine known as "Threads". Of course this is not the magazine called "Threads"- that is completely different.

    I am happy to report that I am largely responsible for making the magazine's (I'm not sure which one) readers universally alcoholic. I am the "joe" of that site, and all my comments begin: "For a magazine known as Threads..." Meanwhile I kick back with a beer, while sitting on a gate.

  • Círdan||

    they show up with an incoherent comment expressing a bizarre point of view, often laced with misspellings and grammatical errors, and then they vanish never to be seen again.

    For a blog called Hit and Run.. wait, what?

  • lefty||

    Where the fuck is the Keith Emerson clip. How long do I have to wait.

  • ||

    Is there any precedent for Mrs. Clinton's pre-Pennsylvania promises to retaliate against Iran with nukes and to "totally obliterate" them? Has Bush or any neocon ever ventured to make such a threat? See the video on this page about 8 minutes in:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/04/22/keith-olbermann-interview_n_97951.html

    "It is a theory that some people have been looking at because there is a fear that if Iran, which I hope we can prevent, becoming a nuclear power, but if they were to become one some people worry that they are not deterrable, that they somehow have a different mindset and a worldview that might very well lead the leadership to be willing to become martyrs. I don't buy that but I think we have to test it and one of the ways of testing it is to make it very clear that we are not going to permit them if we can prevent it from them becoming a nuclear power but were they to become some their use of nuclear weapons against Israel would provoke a nuclear response from the United States..."

  • Orange Line Special||

    On the topic of threads, rumor has it that when they're no longer of use to whoever it is that bankrolls Reason, MattW and Weigel are going to try to become assistant editors of this magazine.

  • Blue Plate Special||

    MattW and Weigel are going to try to become assistant editors of this magazine

    Hell, they'll be modelling for it!

  • Orange Line Special||

    And I'm not a running joke! Damnit I'm important. I don't understand why none of you seem to understand just how fucking smart I am and how stupid all of you are! You make IllegalAliens look like Goddamned Einstein! A RealAmerican, by the way. I don't know why I try. I give up. I'm leaving.

  • dpsc||

    Mark: I'd say that the cold war is a precedent. Maybe I'm misremembering this, or maybe I misinterpreted the whole thing (I was younger then than I am now- I suppose that goes without saying), but it seemed to me at the time that we were willing to whack Asia, given the right circumstances.

    Still, it's hard to know what people mean when they say things. For instance, if I said: "I have Dave Weigel's address and I'll be waiting for him so I can thrash him within an inch of his life when he comes out his doorway" it might be mistaken for a threat.

    The truth is that I am a shy and retiring medievalist, and I'm just paraphrasing the nun Hroswitha. She wrote (in Latin- Episiotomy can confirm my translation): "If I had Dave Weigel's address I would thrash him within an inch of his life". The rest of that manuscript is blurry, but some scholars claim that they can make out the word "joe" in it. For the record, Hroswitha seems to have been a Hillary supporter who eventually voted for McCain.

    Anyway, yeah, there's precedent.

  • Orange Line Special||

    That comment just before the last one wasn't me. Stop mocking me!

  • tarran||

    MNG

    You know what a free market is? It's free trade between consenting adults. Care to explain to me how givin one guy a gun and letting him use it at a whim improves things? Because that's what your arguments boil down to. Guess, what? All of the evidence that you come up with to support your superstitious belief that society depends upon a small group of guys with guns threatening everyone else is going to be shot down, because almost universally when one guy pulls a gun on another the outcome is not to the victim's benefit.

    Near where I live there is two lane windy rural road, but it is a cut-through between two major interstates that can save a person about 15 minutes than going to the point where the the two interstates actually connect. So trucking companies have a tremondous incentive to take it. However, since so many take it the people who live off the road are complaining and there is soon talk of making it a "local traffic only" road. As it is the police ticket the living hell out of trucks that go through there. But these fuckers need that 15 minutes or their competitor will get there first, so everyone of them still takes it killing the golden egg laying goose.



    Hmm, this is very interesting. I wonder what would happen if you, Mr Nice Guy, owned that road? Would you permit the truckers to drive down it? Would you charge them a toll and use the money to build a wider road capable of handling more traffic? Would you get a gate and rigorously enforce a no trucks rule?

    If it was valuable enough to them, perhaps the truckers might even buy the road off of you and you could walk away with a nice chunk of change.

    But none of these scenarios are possible? Why, oh look there's some guys with guns who won't allow anyone to take posession of that land. Who allow people to travel upon it generally unmolested while occasionally, ineffectually demanding tolls from the few unlucky souls whom they catch on the few occasions when they are arsed enough to care.

    Yet you look at this situation and see it as a problem caused by not enough people threatening the truck drivers. Wow.

    Oh, bullshit. All those people, across the world in different nations, across this nation in different states, all turned to state regulation after state regulation because of this one guy and his magic propaganda method. Bullshit. Why not just say it was the Illumanti?



    MNG, were you taught critical reading at a government school perchance?

    Your observation that economic regulation predates Bernays is merely the observation that throughout human history people have been trying to get something for nothing. Bernays merely gave them a very effective tool for accomplishing that end in representative republics. He was not the first, nor was the the only one. Rather, he was the most famous and the one who wrote what is considered to be the definitive work on the subject.

    (Ex. Great Depression? Not a result of the much lower state of regulation but actually caused by what little regulation (the tariff, or the fed) that was there!).



    Do you really believe that the Great Depression was caused by a lack of regulation?

    Oh.... My..... God......

    The economy in the 1920's was 100X more regulated than it had been in previous to 1915. The inexperienced regulators up by inflating like crazy, and when the economic expansion became untenable attempted to keep contraction from happening though price controls destruction of food supplies, the bank holidays and high taxes. The Depression lasted into 1946 when Truman started abandoning FDR's price controls. Yes, the Depression ended when the regulations were relaxed

    And you call this a problem caused by a lack of economic regulation.

    Wow. Just Wow.

  • ||

    Notice how fluffy argues that the bad part of Enron is a result of government interference while A-R argues the good part Enron is a result of, you guessed it, the market.

    I did? Huh?

    Although, in all fairness, if the market is represented by people trading ("good") and the government is represented by people pointing guns at each other ("bad"), I don't have a problem making that point.

  • ||

    Anyway, the question is, how do you constrain the threateners? It seems like a very difficult problem to me.

    I think it's amazing that dspc unraveled Market Anarchism with two short sentences.

  • ||

    Tarran -- nice smackdown of MNG's latest example of his lack of comprehension of:

    a) economics

    b) the pernicious effects of people using coercion while claiming it is for the common good.

  • 1||

    Hey, everyone, watch out for those ron paul extremeists, they want to abolish a LOT of federal programs, so watch out, you don't want them to confuse Ron Paul supporters for Reason Subscribers, If anything, you need to seperate yourselves, from the ReVoluction, because it just causes problems, You wouldn't want people to think that you Oppose Federal Programs, that would make you look like fools... and who would want that.

  • BakedPenguin||

    I'm not sure which is sadder: when Paultards are being strident, or when they're trying to be snarky.

  • ||

    "The economy in the 1920's was 100X more regulated than it had been in previous to 1915." Sigh. As I said, the fact that the 1920's were "100X" LESS regulated than, say, the 1940's 50's, 60's, etc., when there was relative prosperity doesn't matter, it was of course the little bit of government that existed at the time that actually caused the Depression (and all the other cyclic depressions before that, which we have not seen in our own heavily regulated generations, I guess they too were caused by the little bit of government in effect at the time?).

    I don't think (prolefeed's goofy praise notwithstanding) you addressed my example with the truckers at all. The government built that road, as they do most infrastructure. They built it like they do a lot of infrastructure, because public works weren't something the market seemed to supply to folks. Thank God the government stepped in where the market failed, because without roads and bridges our economy would look pretty sad. In stepping up they've allowed commerce and yes, "voluntary exchanges" to flourish and our nation to propser. They didn't "prevent ownership" of the road, they built it when private concerns would not.

    But the example (remember it started with the crane operators discussion) was of how market forces will actually OFTEN push rationally self-interested businesses to act in ways which are detrimental to others and themselves (inviting government regulation which kills their goose, but it need not be that, it could be using up the resources their business is based on, or producing a shoddy product which harms people and destroys their reputation, these things happen all the time and yes, even under the magic of the market). Enron IS a great example: there were "voluntary" and "market based" protections, the Wall Street analysts, who were supposed to be policing this. They were snowed by it all. In fact, when one began to publicly doubt the Enron situation, Enron approached his boss (Merril Lynch) and in return for throwing some business their way got him fired. But! But! Self-interested rational Merrill Lynch would NEVER have jeopardized their reputation and bottom line by facilitating risky and bogus analysis in return for mere short term profit! The Market would never have allowed it!...Whoops, it did allow it. Past tense. So pardon us (the US majority) if we don't allow our cranes to be policed by market based voluntary associations (and other nutty policy) based on the axiomatic arguments of libertarians that the market would never let these things happen. We believe our eyes and history, not axioms worked out in theory on graph paper...

    "Your observation that economic regulation predates Bernays" It's you that are having reading comprehension problems. My argument actually had to do with the fact that economic regulation has occurred in so many time periods (both post and ante Bernays), in so many different locales, and so many varying situations, that it is stupid to attribute it to Bernays in particular or concerted behind the scenes campaigns in general. Occams razor would suggest that it occurred to meet realized needs of the majority.

    BTW-you guys with your holier than thou "people pointing guns at each other" stuff are full of it. You guys are fine with "people pointing guns at each other" if it is to enforce contracts, or to eject tresspassors, etc., So I think you realize that "pointing guns at each other" can sometimes be the right thing to have happen, we just disagree on when.

  • Episiarch||

    After Mr. Nice Guy has his hysterectomy, everything will be OK. No more PMS episodes for him.

  • ||

    Whoa, why the ad hominem?

  • Fluffy||

    MNG -

    Actually, it is not my argument that the market always leads to good outcomes, or to the outcome that you desire. More and more it is apparent to me that one strength of the market is the things that it won't do.

    You are correct that there has always been securities fraud, because there have always been persons to whom the potential gain of deception is greater than the potential gain of honesty. The business history of the United States does support, however, my claim that our securities regulation regime has made the frauds larger and has made more people subject to them. Securities investment in the 19th century was largely a "sport" of the wealthy, who would make their investments via the intermediation of a relative handful of New York and Philadelphia investment banks, the most famous example of which was the Morgan bank. Trust was at a premium and investments made outside of a relatively narrow spectrum were understood to be the equivalent of gambling. In such an environment caveat emptor is a perfectly acceptable arrangement. [Since we're on the general subject of market vs. government, I should point out that most of the largest defaults of this period - the Enrons of the day - were by southern US states; they stole more money with the "government" scam than gold-mine scammers ever stole.]

    The securities reforms of the New Deal era arose largely because the prosperity of the 20's had expanded the pool of potential investors in securities beyond the small group that had existed in the 19th century and made stocks a mass investment vehicle, and it was feared that these investors would never return after the crash of 1929. It wasn't feasible for securities investment to be a mass investment vehicle while using the 19th century model, because it wasn't possible for such a large group of investors to have the social contact with each other necessary to create sufficient trust, or the business acumen to judge each investment individually. One solution would have been to allow the market to throw up a group of intermediaries who would be marketing their own trustworthiness, but this was explicitly rejected as likely to lead to even more power being wielded by the firms seen as the most reliable [again symbolically represented by the Morgan bank].

    The securities regulation regime was in fact a clever response to the problem, if your goal was to make securities investment a mass middle-class activity, and if you were willing to exchange a large number of small potential frauds for a small number of big ones. The regulation system "worked": it restored confidence [after an interval] abd brought vast resources from millions of small investors into the system over a period of decades.

    Bernie Ebbers would still have probably been a fraudster in the absence of securities regulation; but he probably would have committed $10 million frauds instead of a $10 billion fraud. And he probably would have stolen that money from a small group of rich doctors, and not from millions of small investors.

    So to bring this back to my first paragraph, when you regulate to a certain end, to provide something that the market won't provide, you may well get what you want. But after that happens I don't want to hear your complaints if things go wrong, and I don't want to hear you blame the "market". Our securities regulation system has given us an investment class that is much larger than it would otherwise be, corporations that are much larger than they would otherwise be, and corporations whose base of stockholders are much less engaged than they would otherwise be. So when people come around complaining about the power of corporations, or about the fact that frauds keep getting larger and larger, I can't resist telling them that you get what you pay for, or in this case what you regulate for.

  • db||

    shrike

  • db||

    shrike writes:
    the 2nd amendment is safe (see 'shrike' and the meaning of assault weapons)

    Have you actually taken delivery?

  • SIV||

    Have you actually taken delivery?

    Can they sell an upper receiver to a 15 y/o?

  • ||

    noble servant I

    protecting serving shielding

    gimme some money

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Interesting read, Fluffy.

  • ||

    "Whoa, why the ad hominem?"

    Art-Epi's not exactly what you might call an "idea man."

    fluffy
    Interesting comments. Some observations:
    "Securities investment in the 19th century was largely a "sport" of the wealthy, who would make their investments via the intermediation of a relative handful of New York and Philadelphia investment banks"
    1. Didn't a large part of the expansion in participation in securities in the 1920's come from credit extension (and a lot of it foolish and or outright fraud)? Wouldn't natural market forces encourage this kind of expansion? And if so, didn't the SEC regs simply provide a more "rational" way to get to this "inevitable" expansion of participation? And of course technological innovation had and would have had a hand in this expansion, right?

    2. You seem to acknowledge that at the heart of SEC regulations is "trust." Are you against such regulations? In essence they really are anti-fraud regulations. Sure, without such regulations investors would have to be more wary, but why should they have to be wary (i.e., prey to fraud)? If we had less laws against rape women would have to be more wary than they are when dating and going out, but why should they have to be more wary, given that rape is wrong. Ditto for securities fraud. As you admit, the regulations have actually restored trust (which I think means it has reduced the risk and incidence of fraud).

    3. I should think much of what the SEC does is very libertarian friendly (in fact don't many pro-market economists write quite a bit about things like the "principal-agent" problem that many SEC regs address), right? In this case "letting the market work it out" (making it so fraudelent entrepeneurs are punished by getting less long run business and consumers are protected by being forced via experience to become more savvy) seems crazy compared to using government coercion to provide a heavy disincentive for this type of activity. It strikes me this supports my overall point about the properness of governmental coercion at times.

    Don't anyone get me wrong. I love the market. Many of my friends have no respect for it and I think they are daft. I just got back from the supermarket: there were about 35 different kinds of cheese, about 80 different kinds of pasta there, etc., all reasonably priced and some from around the globe. How did all that stuff get there for me, to enrich my life, giving me opportunities that 100 years ago would have been unthinkable? Markets. Government coercion would never produce that, never.

    My point is that many libertarians have a religious view of the market, that it will always right every wrong, and that the government is always going to make everything worse. Note I have less problem with a rights based stance that governmental coercion is wrong APART from any empirical results it produces. But the idea that, as an empirical matter, the market will always create wonderous good, strikes me as goofy.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    The government built that road, as they do most infrastructure. They built it like they do a lot of infrastructure, because public works weren't something the market seemed to supply to folks.

    Every townsite ever laid out by every land speculator had rights of way set aside for access. These are roads. What has happened over time is that we have decided that it is easier to ask the government to provide us with infrastructure than it was to use co-ops and voluntary organizations or efforts.

    A perfect example of that is the demise of private ambulance services that existed everywhere 50 years ago that have been largely replaced in every community by tax-paid paramedic services provided by the fire dept.

  • ||

    If we had less laws against rape women would have to be more wary than they are when dating and going out, but why should they have to be more wary, given that rape is wrong.

    Have you ever wondered why people refuse to take you seriously?

  • Episiarch||

    Art-Epi's not exactly what you might call an "idea man."

    What do want from me? It's Sunday, 90 degrees, and I have to go jump in a lake. Literally.

    If we had less laws against rape women would have to be more wary than they are when dating and going out, but why should they have to be more wary, given that rape is wrong.

    Have you ever wondered why people refuse to take you seriously?


    Ooh, ooh, let me try. Absurd hyperbolic statements and hysterical outbursts?

  • ||

    After Mr. Nice Guy has his hysterectomy, everything will be OK.

    I had high hopes for the lobotomy, too. But you can see how well that turned out.

  • db||

    Can they sell an upper receiver to a 15 y/o?

    As long as they never deliver it, yes.

  • ||

    Enron failed while government regulators watched.
    Arthur Andersen failed while government regulators watched.
    Enron is no longer with us.
    Arthur Andersen likewise will no longer engage in incompetent/fraudulent accounting practices.
    The list of government agencies and employees who have been terminated as a result of this fiasco follows
    -
    -
    -
    -
    -
    -
    -
    I believe that's a complete list. Is there a lesson here?

    I know, I know. We need moreand betterer regulations and regulators. Just think, if NYC had more crane inspector regulations with an oversight board, perhaps backed up by a quasi-governmental independent commission funded by crane operator windfall profit contributions, all of those people would still be alive today.

    The government will protect us from all tragedy if we just let them.

  • ||

    And don't get me started on the governmental inaction that allowed Packard, Studebaker and American Motors to fail.

  • ||

    "Have you ever wondered why people refuse to take you seriously?" When an insane person thinks you are insane, it is probably evidence you are sane, know what I mean P Brooks?

    I don't think you were capable of following the conversation fluffy and I were following, but maybe if I run it by you again in another form you will catch the gist (you'll have to imagine me saying every word r-e-a-l-l-y s-l-o-w-l-y for your sake, written word doesn't lend itself to this aid):

    Fluffy seemed to be making the argument that SEC laws made investors less wary of fraud allowing for greater and more careless investing than would occur if we just had buyer beware.

    So I said, why SHOULD investors have to be more wary from fraud anymore than women should have to be more wary from rape. Even in Libertopia fraud, like rape, is illegal.

    See, now hush and let the big boys continue...

  • ||

    And don't get me started on the governmental inaction that allowed Packard, Studebaker and American Motors to fail.

    The government could have saved the Detroit Electric Car Company. But there was a conspiracy!

  • Someone Who Doesn\'t Want to L||

    My point is that many libertarians have a religious view of the market, that it will always right every wrong, and that the government is always going to make everything worse. Note I have less problem with a rights based stance that governmental coercion is wrong APART from any empirical results it produces. But the idea that, as an empirical matter, the market will always create wonderous good, strikes me as goofy.

    Though I do think the incentives of the market almost always work better than the incentives of government, it is not what makes me a libertarian (or an anarchist, depending on how cranky I feel). The rights based stance you mention is what matters to me. I have long rejected utilitarianism, and my political views are a result of this, not the cause. If the market, on average, produces better results that government (which I think it does), that's fortunate, but not the reason I support it.

    I don't know, but maybe this is one of the reasons I've never felt any kinship to conservatives as a libertarian. Maybe it just brands me as an anarchist.

  • ||

    "Arthur Andersen failed while government regulators watched.
    Enron is no longer with us.
    Arthur Andersen likewise will no longer engage in incompetent/fraudulent accounting practices."

    Wow, but J sub D, at what cost? Thousands of investors bilked? This is the problem with many libertarian answers to what will take the place of regulation.

    Non-Libertarian: "But what about polluters?"
    Libertarian: "Well, if they pollute a river and swimmers die from teh pollution, then the swimmers can sue the company and make them bankrupt. See, the market works."
    Yeah, but we get a lot of dead swimmers...

    The SEC punishments and convictions provide extra incentive to make the next CEO's and accounting firms think twice about this. And, the SEC actions against Enron and AA were what really put a stop to their continuing fraud.

  • ||

    Pssst...possible Cesar sighting. "Everything's Gonna Be All White". Downpage.

  • ||

    SWDWTLHJ
    I can see that. I don't agree with the rights based stance either ultimately (I think there just are some stances where coercion is not only morally ok, but morally justified [in fact I submit everyone does, think "defense of others" in the law), but I think it has much more viability than concluding that markets will as a matter of empirical fact always create good results and government always create bad results.

  • Apaulogist||

    The tiny number of libertarian comments here show how discredited Reason is within the libertarian community. This is Reason.com, yet most of the comments are from liberals. I guess this is largely due to the Ron Paul smear and Reason's cosmopolitan perspective.

  • ||

    J sub D
    This kind of thing always puzzles me.

    Let's say we have two options, no government system of standards and inspections for crane operators and a system where such things are in place.

    Now I can see you arguing that in the latter example the standards may end up too high (and hurting the industry and hence society), or too low (maybe from business lobbying). The inspections may be carried inefficiently (maybe because there is no market forces to discipline) or corruptly (business bribes). But certainly SOME crane operators will have SOME incentive, due to the existence of possible action against them by the inspectors for violations, to change their behavior. To argue otherwise seems to me to ignore the entire concept of incentives, a concept the field of economics, which undergirds libertarian thought, largely rests upon.

    So maybe its not cost effective or something. I can dig that. But to deny that it will avert at least SOME tragedy seems plainly wrong to me...

  • ||

    Aw, man, not this again. Look, purists are necessary, but I don't put much stock in purists for the most part, whether they're dems, republicans or libertarians. I actually like people that sometimes make up their minds issue by issue. Frankly, I'd rather deal with a libertarian-leaning democrat or libertarian-leaning republican than many of the people over there at Lew Rockwell.

  • ||

    "This is Reason.com, yet most of the comments are from liberals."

    Other than me and joe I'm not sure who would be a liberal on this thread. Arithmetic is not a cosmo plot...

    And well, maybe Paul you don't get to define a movement as broad as libertarians. Liberaltarians are out there too. Just like Ron Paul should not be discounted as a libertarian because of his opposition to open borders...

  • ||

    MNG, You didn't get it, did you? More betterer regulations. Then all of the fraud will go away.

    And you accuse libertarians of living in a dream world. The more complicated regulations are the more ways to hide fraud.

    Two other quick points. There is no libertopia, all problems will noy go away by minimizing governmental interference in the market. I've never been deluded enough to suggest otherwise.

    Non-Libertarian: "But what about polluters?"
    Libertarian: "Well, if they pollute a river and swimmers die from teh pollution, then the swimmers can sue the company and make them bankrupt. See, the market works."
    Yeah, but we get a lot of dead swimmers...


    A straw man argument. H&R has a decent search function. Feel free to find a post of mine that proposes ending environmental regulation. Throw it in my face and be a green hero.

  • ||

    MNG, You may find posts of mine that assert certain regulations and policies are moronic and based on flawed or non-existent science if that'll help.

  • ||

    "This is Reason.com, yet most of the comments are from liberals."

    Other than me and joe I'm not sure who would be a liberal on this thread. Arithmetic is not a cosmo plot...



    The red team thinks libertarians are hippies (sex, drugs, rock & roll), the blue team considers us fascists (property rights matter more than an ill defined "public good").

    The mindset is "Go, team go". Partisan people often don't actually think about the issues. Why bother when you can have Rush or Barbra do your thinking for you?

  • ed||

    Did anyone else notice Hillary's expression as she "endorsed" Obama? It's the face you'd make if forced to swallow castor oil while being probed by a red hot poker.

  • Apaulogist||

    "The red team thinks libertarians are hippies (sex, drugs, rock & roll), the blue team considers us fascists (property rights matter more than an ill defined "public good"). " -JsubD

    That proves my point. You shouldn't have to state something so obvious here. We should no more have to defend against utilitarianism than modern chemists should have to defend against alchemy.

  • Apaulogist||

    Jeremy Bentham, the founder of Utilitarianism was nucking futs. At his insistence, his mummified remaqains still attend clooege board meeting at University College, London.

    Utilitarians are hive-minded feaks.

  • Apaulogist||

    Wow. I really can't type today.

  • Someone Who Doesn\'t Want to L||

    Utilitarians are hive-minded feaks.

    And the movement was finally killed off at the end of Star Trek II: The Search for Spock.

  • Someone Who Doesn\'t Want to L||

    OOPS: III.

  • ||

    Apaulogist, you seem to have a very narrow view of utilitarians. Are you angry at Rule Utilitarianism? Act? Motive?

    Attempting to cram your version of morality down the throats of the general populace is doomed to fail. One of the great things about libertarian governannce is it simultaneously produces more just AND more "useful" results.

  • ||

    A person can certainly be a utlitarian and a libertarian. One need not believe in a natural rights form of libertarianism. A utlitarian libertarian would be someone who simply argued that markets tend to or are bound to bring the greatest good to the greatest number. A lot of people think On Liberty to be a libertarian classic...And the fact that Bentham was eccentric in some way does not make his ideas on x y or z wrong, right?

    J sub D
    I don't think government regulation will make al fraud go away any more than I guess you think the abscence of it will do that. I simply argue that in some way it often helps more than it hurts.

    But my bigger point is against this crazy idea that the market polices itself to prevent tragedy from occurring. Maybe you don't hold this view, but I hear it a lot around here and it goes like this:

    "A possible pollutter/reckless crane operator/discriminator would not pollute/operate crane recklessly/disciminate because the market would punish him later by sullying reputation and hurting is bottom line/torts/making his workforce lessproductive."

    I'm sorry, but people just are not that rational in their self interest.

  • Apaulogist||

    "And the movement was finally killed off at the end of Star Trek II: The Search for Spock."

    Not so. "RESISTANCE IS FUTILE. YOU WILL BE ASSIMILATED." Ring a bell?

  • Fluffy||

    MNG -

    Remember, the discussion began because you asserted that the market caused the Enron and Arthur Andersen scandals.

    My position is that the type of event Enron represented would have been smaller in the absence of extensive regulation of the public markets. My subordinate position is that the Arthur Andersen element of the scandal would not have existed at all, because the service Andersen was offering basically could be summarized as "come up with innovative ways to structure transactions to allow you to report maximum per-share profit under the rules promulgated by the SEC as they are currently understood", and the entire company's existence only makes sense as a phenomena arising from public securities regulation.

    I don't expect libertopia to be a place where nothing bad happens. I expect libertopia to be a place where smart and careful people thrive and dumb and careless people suffer. I personally might burn out in libertopia, because I tend to take more risks than I really should, and probably am in the "careless" category.

    Sure, without such regulations investors would have to be more wary, but why should they have to be wary (i.e., prey to fraud)? If we had less laws against rape women would have to be more wary than they are when dating and going out, but why should they have to be more wary, given that rape is wrong. Ditto for securities fraud.

    Well, that depends on the end result that you want. There really is nothing salutary about some number of women being raped, but I can think of many things that are salutary about an "organic" level of wariness existing in the investment markets. The ability or inability to raise capital acts as a brake on corporate growth, and the fact that regulation has moved large amounts of capital out of low-risk investments into securities market investments has almost certainly resulted in a socioeconomy marked by larger corporations than would "organically" exist in the absence of those regulations.

    As you admit, the regulations have actually restored trust (which I think means it has reduced the risk and incidence of fraud).

    I would say that it has resulted in fewer total frauds overall [in the particular area of securities fraud] but each of the frauds that still exists is orders of magnitude larger than it would have been in the absence of regulation. When some railroad turned out to be a scam in the 19th century, a relative handful of wealthy investors would lose their bond investment. When Worldcom dies in the 20th century, tens of thousands of small investors lose their investment. The regulation creates the appearance of security, which causes people to expose assets to fraud that otherwise would have been invested differently.

    In this case "letting the market work it out" (making it so fraudelent entrepeneurs are punished by getting less long run business and consumers are protected by being forced via experience to become more savvy) seems crazy compared to using government coercion to provide a heavy disincentive for this type of activity.

    Understand, I still think fraud should be a crime. Fraud was a crime before the SEC existed. I'm not saying that market punishment should be the only punishment.

    This area of discussion is an issue for me because I see it in the context of a broader set of social phenomena that are generally held up as "the evils of capitalism" that aren't actually the evils of capitalism at all. I know you object to arguments that find a way to make it always the government's fault whenever something bad happens. I'm just saying that regulation often "works", in the sense that you get the market-defying outcome that you think you want, but that often the thing the market was denying you was something you shouldn't want, and the fact that the market denied it to you may be a good tip-off that you don't want it.

    Examples:

    For 150 years people complained that the market didn't build enough roads. So the state stepped in to "fix" this. And the state definitely got the job done on that front. And now Al Gore walks around giving speeches about how capitalism has to go away, because it's a threat to the planet because...there are too many cars.

    People complained that it wasn't possible for small investors to trust the securities markets, and that large amounts of capital weren't entering those markets due to a lack of trust. So the state got busy to "fix" that problem. And now the left complains that large corporations dominate every area of life. And they complain more when one of the overgrown corporations the system has birthed falls in on the heads of its owners.

    People complained that early broadcast media were an "anarchy", so the state got busy wiping out private broadcast operators and creating a broadcast cartel that would have protected areas of operation and profits. And then the left decided that "evil capitalism" produced media oligopolies that were in bed with the government.

    The list goes on.

    Sometimes it can seem like the libertarian critique of government is that regulation never works. I'm happy to concede that sometimes it works just fine. Sometimes it works too well. I'm just seeing more and more that the limits the market sets contain their own sort of bizarre distributed Hayekian wisdom, and that when we "tamper with the forces of nature" the true impact may not be immediately clear.

  • ||

    I'm sorry, but people just are not that rational in their self interest.

    Oh really? So, tell us, MNG, who on this board is too stupid to run their own lives? I want names, dammit!

    Self-interest is just that: subject-dependent. I don't think you (or anybody) is smart enough to determine that I am not pursuing my self-interest "rationally" enough. Let reality be the arbiter of that.

  • Episiarch||

    And the movement was finally killed off at the end of Star Trek II: The Search for Spock.

    Commander Kruge was a utilitarian? Fucking Klingons.

  • ||

    of course, critics of utilitarianism forget that one generally needs something to be utilitarian about...

  • Apaulogist||

    "Apaulogist, you seem to have a very narrow view of utilitarians. Are you angry at Rule Utilitarianism? Act? Motive? "

    It's not anger. It's disagreement. I hold certain truths to be self-evident. utilitarians do not. Natural rights theory supports freedom and individualism. Utilitarianism does not.

    The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Utilitarians are well-intentioned.

  • ||

    I don't expect libertopia to be a place where nothing bad happens. I expect libertopia to be a place where smart and careful people thrive and dumb and careless people suffer.

    Dare I say in libertarian society, careful will outweigh dumb, and careless will trump smart. Prudent people would thrive in a libertarian society. That includes Gomer pumping gas who invests in blue chip stocks or land.

    Reckless people, even "intelligent" ones, try to do things like corner the silver market.

    The housing bubble is a case study in the value of prudence. I have been unable to muster up any sympathy for all of those left holding the bag.

  • ||

    reality is

    rules on paper change it not

    fake nanny voodoo

  • ||

    I hold certain truths to be self-evident. utilitarians do not. Natural rights theory supports freedom and individualism. Utilitarianism does not.

    What truths do you hold to be self-evident?

    If I disagree, does that mean that the conversation is over?

    Natural-rights theory cannot support freedom without a utilitarian backing, and vice-versa...it's just as silly to say that something is great in theory but not in practice as it is to say it's great in practice but not in theory.

    They're both nonsense.

  • Apaulogist||

    It may help to understand that Libertopia is NOT utopian. It is just the best society we can theoretically create while still allowing freedom, including the freedom to make "bad" choices. A truely perfect society would require perfect people and that just isn't possible.

    I consider liberty and end in and of itself. It is not just a mechanism by which we can achieve peace, prosperity, etc. (although is is that also).

  • Apaulogist||

    "What truths do you hold to be self-evident?"

    I am sure you are familiar with the D of I. and John Locke.

    "If I disagree, does that mean that the conversation is over?"

    Yes, that's exactly right. I make certain assertions that I consider to be beyond debate. So did John Handcock, et al. I am not trying to justify my position. I am describing it.

  • ||

    I consider liberty and end in and of itself. It is not just a mechanism by which we can achieve peace, prosperity, etc. (although is is that also).

    I think both viewpoints (liberty is an end unto itself AND liberty is the best mechanism for the best society) are equally valid.

    That being said, I am critical of formulaic libertarianism that says over and over "By what right?" (I know, the irony is deep) because any political viewpoint can scream about injustice...and they frequently do.

  • ||

    Yes, that's exactly right. I make certain assertions that I consider to be beyond debate.

    That's all well and good, but considering that engaging individuals with viewpoints that are different from yours is probably the only way to produce a freer society, I don't think you're going to get very far.

    Also, you'll note that, despite the "self-evident" truths expounded by TJ, he was still an advocate of public schools...something many libertarians are NOT in favor of. So the nature of said "self-evident truths" is clearly debatable.

  • Apaulogist||

    "That's all well and good, but considering that engaging individuals with viewpoints that are different from yours is probably the only way to produce a freer society, I don't think you're going to get very far."

    As Washington demonstrated, it is sometimes productive to do the engaging with muskets when all else fails.

    "Also, you'll note that, despite the "self-evident" truths expounded by TJ, he was still an advocate of public schools...something many libertarians are NOT in favor of. So the nature of said "self-evident truths" is clearly debatable."

    Don't confuse the classical liberals with the hive-minded utilitarians. Of course there is disagreement on specific issues. What is self-evident to me is only what I say is self-evident. Nobody has to agree, but be prepared to face resistance when you try to restrict my freedom. You don't need to know why I believe something to accept that I believe it.

    TJ was a slave-owning proto-libertarian. He advocated public schools as a way to secularize education. It was his animosity toward the clergy and not his faith in Virginia State Government that drove his public school position.

  • ||

    As Washington demonstrated, it is sometimes productive to do the engaging with muskets when all else fails.

    Yes...sometimes being the key phrase. For the other vast majority of times, it's best to peacefully advocate for ideas and ensure the peaceful transfer of power.

    Nobody has to agree, but be prepared to face resistance when you try to restrict my freedom. You don't need to know why I believe something to accept that I believe it.

    And just how are you resisting with the current abridging of your freedoms?

    Your resistance will, well, be futile if there's no one to resist with you, hence why the battlefield of ideas is preferable to the battlefield of physical force.

    You don't need to know why I believe something to accept that I believe it.

    That's called faith. You shouldn't expect me to believe it if your assertion is "well, it's what I believe...you don't need to know why." You're right, I don't NEED to know it, but the meaningful exercise of liberty is dependent on convincing the majority...or the powerful...that you should be left alone to pursue your own ends.



  • Apaulogist||

    Secular private education beyond tutors did not exist when TJ was president. If it did, I am sure he wouold have found it preferable to tax-sponsored ed. BTW, There were no (and are no) truancy laws at the U. Of Virginia.

  • Apaulogist||

    "Your resistance will, well, be futile if there's no one to resist with you, hence why the battlefield of ideas is preferable to the battlefield of physical force."

    I actually do agree with you, but I still can't help thinking that all the money I donated to the Ron Paul campaign might have been better invested in a good rifle. You should be greatful to Dr. Paul for keeping people like me politically engaged, otherwise things might get violent.

  • Elemenope||

    It's not anger. It's disagreement. I hold certain truths to be self-evident. utilitarians do not. Natural rights theory supports freedom and individualism. Utilitarianism does not.

    The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Utilitarians are well-intentioned.


    The sheer number of equivocations, of the technical sort, present here takes one's breath away.

  • Apaulogist||

    "The sheer number of equivocations, of the technical sort, present here takes one's breath away."

    If I was making an argument, and not a declaration, you would be correct. That is why utilitarianism and natural rights are fundementally incompatible. They are based on different starting axioms.

    Utilitarinism's ultimate goal is the greatest good for the greatest number. The goal of the natural rights libertariansm is freedom.

  • ||

    Utilitarinism's ultimate goal is the greatest good for the greatest number. The goal of the natural rights libertariansm is freedom.

    And if the greatest good comes from freedom...then how are the two schools of thought incompatible?

    again, I think that you need to study the different types and schools of utilitarianism much more. Your understanding of it seems very "100 level".

  • ||

    the deep irony, of course, is that many individuals who make pro-freedom arguments on a morality platform, as opposed to a utilitarian one, say that it works better, and is more effective, to argue that way.

    Heh.

  • Apaulogist||

    I actually DO believe that the greatest good comes from freedom, but even if it did not, it would be worthy of achieving.

    The greatest good is like happiness. Happiness is not attained by persuit of happiness, but by the fulfillment and meaning that comes from serving something greater than yourself. As a libertarian, I absolutely believe that everyone should have the right to persue happiness, but I also believe it to be futile in the absence of a more lofty goal.

    For me, Freedom is that goal, not just freedom for me, but freedom for pot-smoking, internet gambling prostitutes, polygamists, gun nuts, drug dealers, and even [swallow hard] cosmopolitans.

  • Charlie LaPlante||

    Happiness is not attained by persuit of happiness, but by the fulfillment and meaning that comes from serving something greater than yourself.

    Who let John McCain into the conversation?

  • Apaulogist||

    The difference is that I (attempt to)serve the cause of freedom and John McCain serves the state.

    Cosmotarians would be wise to recognize that your strongest allies are non-hedonistic libertarians (paleos) and not non-libertarian hedonists (liberals).

  • ||

    "If I was making an argument, and not a declaration, you would be correct."

    As you are a self-professed believer in self-evident truths and natural rights why should there be any distinction between the two?

  • ||

    fluffy

    Actually, I started this conversation with my observation that many people argue that in Libertopia these tragedies (the crane one) would not happen (or would happen much less) because the natural logic of the market would push folks to never do these bad things. I think that is crazy.

    Here is the post from 12:55 pm

    "As to the crane inspector, uhhh, there would be no such guy in Libertopia to even bribe right? Everyone would just get their own crane and go to work, no silly government to go through, and common law torts (after being "reformed" of course, i.e., making it harder for people killed/maimed by cranes to sue the corps operating them) left to clean up the mess.

    Of course noone would operate the cranes negligently in Libertopia because it would bring torts (reformed of course) and bad press and hurt their bottom line and noone ever does anything that hurts their long term bottom line...

    Or maybe even better: the sudden formation of spontaneous voluntary associations of crane inspectors roaming the country, bribery proof and on horseback..."

  • Apaulogist||

    Mr. Nice Guy-

    In one case I would be making a logical fallacy and in the other I would not.

    I acknowlege my position requires faith. Do the utilitarians?

  • ||

    I then gave Enron as one example of how market forces can actually drive people to do bad things.

    They were not stopped from trying this by long term calculations of how their financial interests would suffer, or because of the work of voluntary associations that the market provided (the private analysts got it as wrong as the government regulators, maybe "wronger" and "longer").

  • Apaulogist||

    So Mr. Nice guy, was it the government that killed the Suzuki Samurai or was it consumer Reports?

    Private regulatory entities like the American dental association, which puts it's stamp of approval on toothpaste, increase tha value of the toothpaste and therefor require no coersian for toothpase comanies to cooperate with them. The ADA faces market competition as well, so it has an incentive to certify only good toothpaste. It works better than a U.S. Department of Dental Health and no tax money is required.

  • ||

    Michelle Obama's "Whitey" tape just posted on Youtube:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aZi6U811hxE

  • ||

    I acknowlege my position requires faith. Do the utilitarians?

    Apaulogist, I'm neither a utilitarian nor an intrinsicist (as you seem to be, that is, freedom is intrinsically good, in all times and all places), I'm an objectivst (both small and large "O") and you have to realize that no argument on faith is ever going to work...if you can't reason people into your position, what good is it to say anything at all to anyone?

  • ||

    "Prudent people would thrive in a libertarian society. "

    That's really it, isn't it? Just like everybody who likes Thus Spake Zaruthsa assumes they are the Superman and everyone else is the silly masses, many libertarians assume that in a truly "free" society they will beat out those clueless parasites whom they support through government theft...I mean, they are not in any position of misfortune, so they MUST be doing something right, eh? (And A-R thinks I am a know it all!)

    It's more likely you are lucky than great my friends. Here's one fun proof: at this given moment everyone reading this is currently in several major contracts the terms of which they not only do not fully understand, but which they do not even KNOW.

    You know all the terms of your cell phone contract? Your service provider contract? Your house loan? Your car loan? Your school loans? Your insurance? I don't think you do.

    Well, why would you, a self-interested and rational person, sign such things when you don't know? Couldn't one of the terms that you did not read suddenly become applicable to you and put you in a bad way? Why not?

    What a TRIP...

    Prudent people would win sometimes and lose sometimes in Libertopia. People with advantages would win most of the time, as is mostly the case now. Get over yourselves!

  • Apaulogist||

    Saying the Enron Scandal proves that markets don't work is like saying Butch Cassidy proves Banks don't work. The Enron brass were criminals. They went to prison. It is not the market that provides the incentives to do evil. It is life that does.

    Remember that Jude Law sniper movie? Government cannot eliminate envy or greed. Government only disguises such forces as civic vitues.

  • ||

    "The ADA faces market competition as well, so it has an incentive to certify only good toothpaste."

    Good one! Just like since Merril Lynch faces market competition they have an incentive to certify only good companies.

    Like Enron.

    Which they did. They even fired one of their longtime analysts because he criticized Enron.

    Why did they do it? Because Enron swung them a few deals.

    Yep.

  • ||

    (And A-R thinks I am a know it all!)

    OK, seriously, where are you getting these sentiments from about me? That's the second time you've attributed something to me that I haven't said.

    I don't think you're a know-it-all, YOU think you are! You want to tell people how to run their lives because they don't "know" their own self interest like you do!

  • ||

    "The Enron brass were criminals. They went to prison."

    Yeah, a voluntary association put them there.

    Not.

  • Apaulogist||

    "if you can't reason people into your position, what good is it to say anything at all to anyone?"

    It's a shot across the bow, a warning.

    BTW, Objectivism requires faith too.

  • ||

    "I don't think you're a know-it-all, YOU think you are! You want to tell people how to run their lives because they don't "know" their own self interest like you do!"


    Urr, you just admitted it...

    I think people often do a poor job at estimating risks that they know very little about.

    That's a psychological fact.

  • Bingo||

    Oh yeah well I fondled your mother last night!

  • Apaulogist||

    Mr Nice Guy, I am defending classical liberalism, not anarchy. criminals should go to jail. The Enron brass were guilty of fraud.

  • Apaulogist||

    Nice guy, Merril Lynch hasn't finished paying for their complicity in the Enron scandal. We are not the only market-watchers who know what they did.

  • ||

    fluffy
    Arthur Anderson's services were not only for the SEC compliance, but something like that would (one would hope) be required in Libertopia. I would be more likely to invest in a company that had an audit from an "independent" agency. This is the argument many libertarians make, that market forces like this would prevent the fraud (because in theory AA would not risk its reputation for short term fees from its client). I think it just doesn't wash empirically.

    "Well, that depends on the end result that you want." I want less rape and fraud, since both limit and undermine freedom (as defined as voluntary choices).

    "I would say that it has resulted in fewer total frauds overall [in the particular area of securities fraud] but each of the frauds that still exists is orders of magnitude larger than it would have been in the absence of regulation."

    Good, I like fewer frauds. On the second part I think you are wrong. Technological innovation and prosperity will combine with the natural gambling instinct of man to make investment widespread. Those people deserve protection. Saying "too many" people are investing in securities strikes me as akin to saying "too many women don't watch where they are going dressed like they are" (Camille Paglia?). Nobody asks for or deserves rape or fraud.

    This may suprise you, but I don't object to the "bigness" of corporations. Corporations were created to raise lots of capital, and concentrations of capital have economic benefits...

  • ||

    BTW, Objectivism requires faith too.

    Yeah, I hear that a lot. I have yet to see anyone demonstrate it, however.

    I think people often do a poor job at estimating risks that they know very little about.

    Yes, and instead of encouraging them to learn about these risks, you want government to figure it out for us.

    How does that help any?

    Like I said, I don't think you're a know-it-all, you do!

  • ||

    MNG - this whole "women and rape" and "investors and risks" thing you're on isn't even close to reflecting the reality of the situations.

    It's an outrageous and non-analogous comparison.

  • ||

    "I think people often do a poor job at estimating risks that they know very little about.

    Yes, and instead of encouraging them to learn about these risks, you want government to figure it out for us. "

    One of the most important functions of government is to inform (like the safet ratings cars get, or the daily nutritional values you see on your cereal).

    But in some areas people on average tend to make really stupid decisions. Again, that's a psychological fact.

    And in many areas there is a lot working against a person being informed of all the facts (like workplace safety).

    In these areas I'm certainly not imposed to government civil service experts using careful studies to suggest constraints on choice and enacting it into law where crucial.

    The voters can always decide if the results are good or not by replacing the pols that will replace the administrative heads that guide the policy the experts inform.

  • ||

    A-R
    fluffy suggests that, while fraud is inherently wrong, we may want to loosen our protections against it to create more "wariness" of fraud among investors.

    How is that not like suggesting that, while rape is inherently wrong, we may want to loosen our protections against it to create more "wariness" of rape among women (as I said, Camille Paglia espouses something like this).

    Feel free to actually point out how they are dis-analagous rather than declaring it.

  • Apaulogist||

    Okay, Randroid. Here's you proof if you are honest enough with yourself to accept it.

    Objectivism is an atheist philosophy. Atheism requires faith because it is impossible to proove a negative like "there is no God."

    It may well be a true belief, but it is unprovable. Objectivism requires faith.

  • ||

    "It may well be a true belief, but it is unprovable."
    As an athiest I've always been irked by this.

    It's like saying "since you can't prove there is an invisible unicorn granting wishes at random and living behind my sofa to say it doesn't exist is a position on faith."

    You are the one positing an empirical fact: that there is this supernatural being existing in the universe. Until you give me some reason for believing that, I submit it takes no faith for me to deny it.

  • ||

    Objectivism is an atheist philosophy. Atheism requires faith because it is impossible to proove a negative like "there is no God."

    It may well be a true belief, but it is unprovable. Objectivism requires faith.


    *OUCH* I didn't expect this kind of low-rent, fallacious thinking from you.

    So, I have faith in...what exactly?

  • ||

    MNG - I believe that what Fluffy is trying to get across is NOT that we should decrease our protections against fraud, but that the level of regulation to prevent said fraud is actually lessening our freedoms.

    Think of it this way: what if you had to register everywhere you went for the past three months to the police as part of an anti-rape initiative?

    The cost of compliance outweighs the loss of freedoms. Additionally, we have fundamentally different ideas of what should be protected...you want to "minimize risk", even if people are knowingly and willingly taking that risk. Investments are (and should be!) risks; walking down the street should not be.

  • Apaulogist||

    Ayn Randian, I don't see what's so low-rent or fallacious. You have faith in Atheism and, by extention, Objectivism. That's not neccesarily a bad thing as long as you acknowlege the possibility that you could be wrong.

    Diplomacy is not neccessary between people who agree. Classical liberals and Objectivists have much in common and can work as allies against the statists if we are mature enough to acknowledge that neither of us will get everything we want from the alliance.

  • ||

    You have faith in Atheism

    No, I don't. I classify myself as "atheist" because no has demonstrated to me that God exists. Just like (as MNG pointed out to you) the fact that unicorns don't exist: the onus of proof is on the asserter of a proposition ("God/unicorns/gremlins exist").

    It's not an article of faith to NOT believe in a thing.

    Objectivism is a philosophy for living life, based on observations. It's not faith to say that "Fact X is true because reason tells me it is so."

  • Apaulogist||

    "You are the one positing an empirical fact: that there is this supernatural being existing in the universe. Until you give me some reason for believing that, I submit it takes no faith for me to deny it."

    I am positing no such thing. I am a Deist and an agnostic. I belive in a Creator, but I don't "know" one exists. Your starting point is no more rational than mine, just different.

  • ||

    I belive in a Creator, but I don't "know" one exists. Your starting point is no more rational than mine, just different.

    "I believe Unicorns exist, but I don't know they do...your disbelief is just 'different' from my belief".

    Apaulogist, the rational position to take is to NOT believe in a thing until it has been demonstrated to you that it exists.

    You believe in a thing without evidence or proof...and you think that's just as equally rational as disbelief? That's called faith, and it is, by definition, irrational.

  • Apaulogist||

    In philosophy, there is an important difference between belief and knowledge. An agnostic may or may not belive in a Creator, but in either case, accepts that such belief is unprovable or "unknowable."

    A theist "knows" there is a God. An atheist "knows" there is not. I am neither. I think such knowlege is actually faith unless someone experiences God directly, which I have not.

  • ||

    "Investments are (and should be!) risks; walking down the street should not be."
    The SEC does not try to make them unrisky, just not fraudulent. That strikes me as OK.

    Fraud is inherently informational, disclosure is an appropriate response.

    "A theist "knows" there is a God. An atheist "knows" there is not." An athiest has no reason to suppose there is one.

  • ||

    A theist "knows" there is a God. An atheist "knows" there is not. I am neither.

    No, Apaulogist. Atheism is a lack of belief in a god or multiple gods. That is all.

  • Apaulogist||

    Just for the record, unicorns do exist, but they look nothing like in legend.

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

    Along the same lines, I doubt very much that if God exists, He is anything like Yahweh, Jahovah or Allah.

  • ||

    Some people say that dating or going out dressed provocatively is inherently risky and people who are harmed from that should not complain too much.

    And some people think that a person who wants to invest money based upon another's stated word (or material fact omitted) is involved in inherent risk and that people harmed should not complain too much.

    I say neither is correct.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    MNG, no one with sense supports the first statement, and as for the second, I have not seen anyone defending fraud.

  • ||

    Argh.

    MNG - no one is saying fraud (or rape) shouldn't be punished. Where we're disagreeing is the size and scope of preventative messages that should be implemented.

    MNG, you certainly wouldn't require quarterly man-reports or sexual "compliance" to prevent rape, would you?

  • ||

    I suspect Bill Clinton's antimasturbation refers to his 1994 canning of Joycelyn Elders, Surgeon General, taunter of pro-lifers, and masturbation education advocate.

  • ||

    A-R
    As I said, these reports are necessary and appropriate because fraud, unlike rape, is an informational crime (one side does not have the information the other is concealing or misstating).

  • ||

    I need you to make certain information known to me in order for me to not be defrauded. It's appropriate for the SEC to require that information be released at reasonable intervals.

    What do you think that reg prevents that is OK?

  • ||

    Of course, that article makes me long for the heady days of late '94...

    That stature gap helps explain why both parties are playing a new Washington game called "Whose Wrecking Ball Is Bigger?" After Republican Newt Gingrich announced his plan to sell one of five House office buildings, jealous Clinton aides one-upped the Republican leader with a plan to padlock an entire federal agency. Hearing of this, Republican leaders late last Friday began work on a new budget plan to close four agencies: HUD, Energy, Education and Commerce. The bidding war exasperated one official. "Now we're in a situation," he said, "where if we don't abolish three agencies, we look weak."



    How far we've come in the last decade and a half...

  • ||

    The SEC regs are like the regs that make a seller put the ingredients on the package.

  • ||

    While everyone is dancing around the head of a libertarian pin, are you also aware that Tom DeLay's wife is supporting Bob Barr?

  • Apaulogist||

    Almost noone wants to live in a jungle of anarchy or a zoo of totalitarianism, so what we are debating is the characterists of the wild game park we are trying to create.

    We are trying to minimize the risk/reward ratio on our available options. Doing so requires a knowledge of human nature and the incentives created by the proposed policies.

  • ||

    If we could prevent rape without impositions on freedom that were not objectionable, then wouldn't we?

    Fraud can be often prevented through preventative measures. Why should we not use them? Because it makes people put forward the material facts of a transaction? Shouldn't it always be so to make a transaction voluntary?

  • ||

    Again, if we could prevent fraud with little imposition on anyone, why not? Please explain.

    This is actually my dream example of why coercion is not per se a bad thing.

    A little bit of coercion to force people making offers to reveal all material facts.

    Allows millions of people to make truly voluntary choices.

    Liberty is expanded.

    Now "libertarians," tell me why that is a bad thing.

  • ||

    Can fraud only be combated after the fact?

    Should rape only combated through measures started after the fact?

  • Apaulogist||

    So if my belief in feedom is lack of faith in government, and that is faith, then why is belief in atheism (lack of faith in God) treated any differently?

  • Someone Who Doesn\'t Want to L||

    Episiarch, I know it's late and I'm drunk, but:

    "The good of the one outweighed the good of the many."

    There you go!

  • Someone Who Doesn\'t Want to L||

    I should really emphasize this: That bit: "because the good of the one outweighed the good of the many" is why I love that movie and reject the even-numbered Star Trek Movie hypothesis.

  • Apaulogist||

    "Can fraud only be combated after the fact?

    Should rape only combated through measures started after the fact?"

    Mr. Nice Guy sounds like the villains in Minority Report.
    Yes, Guy. Crimes are not crimes until they actually happen.

  • ||

    SWDWTLHJ,

    #10 in the series (Nemesis) also serves as a ready counterexample....

  • Someone Who Doesn\'t Want to L||

    And if the greatest good comes from freedom...then how are the two schools of thought incompatible?

    No, A_R, but it's a lucky break. They may still be held to be incompatible on some other issue.

  • Apaulogist||

    Here is an example of the incompatibility:

    If you drive home drunk and nobody gets hurt, utilitarians say you have committed a crime while natural rights libertarians say you haven't because there is no victim.

    But the utilitarians are dishonest and inconsistent. They did not prosecute JFK for the crazy risks he took in blockading Cuba, for example.

  • ||

    Blech. Vulcan philosophy is a fraud. The very concept of "good" requires a non-rational basis, yet the Vulcans claim to be guided by pure logic.

  • Someone Who Doesn\'t Want to L||

    crymethink: I was actually unable to enjoy Nemesis after I saw the "he's Picard's clone because he's bald" reasoning. There were a few good moments in it and I, as I was watching it, wished I still liked Star Trek enough to enjoy it as much as many other people did.

  • ||

    Apaulogist,

    So if you see a man pointing a gun at the head of a person who has their hands up, you wouldn't intervene because no one's rights have been violated yet?

  • Apaulogist||

    "So if you see a man pointing a gun at the head of a person who has their hands up, you wouldn't intervene because no one's rights have been violated yet?"-Chris P

    Does the man with the gun also have a badge? What if he's a dirty cop? The answer to your question is not nearly as obvious as you are implying without all the details, many of which I wouldn't know.


    Odly enough this exact scenario played out once where it turned out that a man had stumbled upon a movie set. Fortunately, the would-be good Samaritan had some libertarian instincts and tagedy was avoided.

  • Fluffy||

    fluffy suggests that, while fraud is inherently wrong, we may want to loosen our protections against it to create more "wariness" of fraud among investors.

    How is that not like suggesting that, while rape is inherently wrong, we may want to loosen our protections against it to create more "wariness" of rape among women (as I said, Camille Paglia espouses something like this).

    Feel free to actually point out how they are dis-analagous rather than declaring it.


    One reason they aren't perfectly analogous is that fraud and rape were both equally illegal prior to the creation of the SEC. So advocating for one legal regime where fraud is illegal over another where fraud is illegal is not analogous to wanting rape to be legal so that women will be afraid of it.

    I'm not saying I want fraud to be legal or that I want people to be defrauded or even to be in constant fear of fraud. I'm saying that by attempting to use regulation to make people feel that they do not have to acquire knowledge or experience in order to be safe, we have created a system of economic relationships that would not "organically" have existed, and it's open to debate whether we are better off overall as a result. I'm saying that when we come up against a market limit [for example, the limit of engagement of the average citizen with the world of securities investment] before we hubristically pave over that limit with regulation we should consider the overall history of our other market interventions, the record of which looks worse every year.

    A little bit of coercion to force people making offers to reveal all material facts.

    Allows millions of people to make truly voluntary choices.

    Liberty is expanded.

    Now "libertarians," tell me why that is a bad thing.


    Well, we've been talking about one reason why it might be a bad thing all day. You don't agree with this particular critique, but to me it's part of a collage of critiques of government action which have combined to create an economic and cultural landscape I don't much like. In many ways I agree with the leftist critique of American society; I just blame the state for it, and not the market, and history and the law prove me right and them wrong.

    But that's neither here nor there for your exact question above, so I'll take a shot at it with more traditional liberty-based reasoning:

    The reason it's wrong is because under the law as it now stands, a person who offers an honest investment is a criminal if they do so without completing the proper paperwork or obtaining the proper authorizations. And I don't the state has the right to criminalize the offering of a non-fraudulent investment, regardless of the utility it may gain by doing so.

    I make a similar objection to most systems of prior restraint - licensing and what have you.

  • Apaulogist||

    "Blech. Vulcan philosophy is a fraud. The very concept of "good" requires a non-rational basis, yet the Vulcans claim to be guided by pure logic."

    The Vulcan philosophy presented is utilitarianism. It is incompatible with freedom.

    Star Trek is overrated anyway. Firefly was a much better series IMO. The heroes were whores and smugglers.

  • ||

    Mr Nice Guy,

    I'm curious, would you support laws requiring potential employees to list every job they've ever had (even ones they don't think will give good refs) on their resume or application, under penalty of fines or jail?

    How about all those questions about your greatest weakness? Make totally honest and forthcoming answers to those mandatory by law, too, shall we? I mean, we're just talking about making more information available for a voluntary employment transaction, right?

  • ||

    If you drive home drunk and nobody gets hurt, utilitarians say you have committed a crime while natural rights libertarians say you haven't because there is no victim.

    Just stop. A Rule Utilitarian might say that the "rule" that should be followed to maximize good for the greatest number would be "Don't prosecute victimless crime".

    Quit expounding on utilitarianism when you don't know anything about it.

  • Someone Who Doesn\'t Want to L||

    Firefly was good but so was Star Trek (and so was B5).

  • Someone Who Doesn\'t Want to L||

    and in case it isn't clear that I'm a nerd, the Hulk is troger than Superman (or at least potentially so).

  • ||

    Apaulogist,

    Your curious twist on natural law libertarianism would seem to require you to stand by and watch regardless of any of those details, right?

  • ||

    A_R,

    From what I can tell, rule utilitarianism consists of deciding what you want to do and then defining "the greatest good" in a way that supports it. A silly and facile attempt at philosophy of morality, it is.

  • ||

    Chris - we're in agreement on that one...I was just pointing out that it's unfair for Apaulogist to project what utilitarians would and would not support when the definition (esp. with Rule Utilitarianism) is flexible enough to cover every governmental/societal system (except that utilitarianism generally has a much better respect for science).

  • Apaulogist||

    "Just stop. A Rule Utilitarian might say that the "rule" that should be followed to maximize good for the greatest number would be 'Don't prosecute victimless crime'."

    Randroid, there is always some joker around to argue that the crime isn't victimless because society is harmed by risky behavior. Rules are subject to interpretion, which opens the door to judicial activism and tyranny. For an example, think of how the Tenth Amendment is currently being interpreted.

  • ||

    Apaulogist - as far as I know, the Tenth Amendment is being entirely ignored.

    And you just said that you don't want to live in the jungles of anarchy...which means there will be rules.

  • Apaulogist||

    "Your curious twist on natural law libertarianism would seem to require you to stand by and watch regardless of any of those details, right?"

    Okay, let's fantasize that I am actually brave enough to confront an armed man. I am not a cop. My bias would still be toward not intervening unless there was substantial evidence that said armed man a killer.

    That kind of reminds me, in the four-way shoot-out at the end of Reservoir Dogs, who shot Chris Penn??

    Penn Shot Keitel
    Harvey Keitel shot the Thing
    The Thing shot Tim Roth

    Who shot Chris Penn? Mr. Pink hiding under the loading ramp??

  • Bingo||

    I fondled your mother's bosom and she said it was the best fondling. Much better than your father has ever done!

  • Apaulogist||

    Okay, Randroid. If you want to define the "good" in the greatest good as "freedom", then sure, put me down for Rules Utilitarianism. It just doesn't seem useful to use a definition that is so uncommon and obscure. Utilitarianism means to most people that technocratic do-gooderism of the Left.

  • ||

    Apaulogist - Keitel shot Penn (Eddie shoots Mr. White and Mr. White kills Eddie in response.)

  • Apaulogist||

    "And you just said that you don't want to live in the jungles of anarchy...which means there will be rules."

    Fair enough, but I have a clear and strong bias toward anarchy over totalitarianism, all things else being equal.

  • ||

    Fair enough, but I have a clear and strong bias toward anarchy over totalitarianism, all things else being equal.

    One just leads to the other, my man. A state of Anarchy is a state of gang-rule, with the oppressed having no control over the oppressors.

  • Apaulogist||

    So White, shoots Eddie, the Thing, and Roth?
    That Harvey Keitel is a badass.

  • ||

    So White, shoots Eddie, the Thing, and Roth?
    That Harvey Keitel is a badass.


    Yeah, well, what else would you expect from Satan? :p

  • Apaulogist||

    "One just leads to the other, my man. A state of Anarchy is a state of gang-rule, with the oppressed having no control over the oppressors."

    Not always. On Little House on the Prarie, there was no sherrif, no mayor.

    BTW, Rose Wilder Lane, Laura Engals Wilder's daughter was an important libertarian writer in the early 20th century.

  • Film Geek||

    That Harvey Keitel is a badass.

    He couldn't arrest Art Garfunkel for raping/fucking an unconscious Theresa Russel, instead of calling for an ambulance, when she O.D.ed in Bad Timing

  • Apaulogist||

    Anyone who could pimp out Jodie Foster, kill vampires and dispose of a corpse while wearing a tux is aman you wouldn't want to mess with.

  • WTF?||

    You know, feministing finally has a thread to harp on, after all the shit they get.

  • ||

    MNG lapped the field.

  • ||

    The only faith I have in cutting the size of Government is getting OUT of permanent war.

    This sounds good, until you realize that the growth of the Total State has had little to do with war, and everything to do with the growth of the entitlement/redistribution state, the regulatory/nanny state, and pursuit of victimless crimes, none of which use war against foreign enemies as a pretext.

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