Video: Why Teaching How to Beat Polygraphs Can Land You in Jail

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"Why Teaching How to Beat Polygraphs Can Land You in Jail," produced by Joshua Swain and narrated by Todd Krainin. About 4 minutes. 

Original release date was February 11, 2014 and original writeup is below.

Last September, Chad Dixon was sentenced to 8 months in a federal prison for teaching clients counter-measures for polygraph tests. Federal prosecutors charged Dixon with obstructing justice—they view his business as undermining an important tool used to check the credibility of government employees and prosecute criminals.

The information Dixon was selling wasn't new. Books on beating polygraphs have been around since the machines were invented. So why is the federal government cracking down now?

In an effort to stop the next Edward Snowden, officials are emphasizing polygraphs' ability to prevent leaks by keeping employees honest. The NSA has recently gone from polygraphing its employees once every five years to four times a year.

Relying on polygraphs is extremely risky according to most scientists. "There is no unique physiological signature that is associated with lying," says Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists. Polygraphs can only record physiological responses to situations and, Aftergood explains, you can train yourself to control those responses: "You can learn to regulate your heartbeat, you can learn to control your breath, and you can generate spurious signals."

Supporters of polygraphs believe that up-to-date machines and well-trained operators can detect lies, making the counter-measures Dixon was teaching obsolete. "We're trained in all those type of counter-measures," says Darryl DeBow of the Virginia Polygraph School. "They are so antiquated, we know when they are doing it." Yet if the counter-measures can easily be detected, it throws doubt on the argument that Dixon was hindering the federal government's work.

4 minutes.

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  1. Well, at least there aren’t old comments attached to this repeat.

    Hey Reason! How about just having some “open thread” posts during the weekends instead (that’s what these become anyway). Save yourself the trouble of picking which story from last week to re-run.

    1. this is more fun

    2. Ya NEED yer old comments!???!!? Comin’ right up… To ANYONE out there wanting to market anti-piggly-wiggly “lie detector” tests?
      My suggestion for you, is a suggestion for any potential USA-based providers of polygraph-thwarting services (teaching, training, etc.) to re-label themselves as, not polygraph-thwarting services, but “Church” of Scientology “E-meter” thwarting services instead! The IRS (fed tax-man) in the USA has recognized this “Church” as being legitimate, and so any training in dealing with the poly-graph-like “E-Meter” (Scientology “religious device”) would then fall under religious freedom! PLEASE spread this idea! (And of course do the same thing to the labels of your services, prominently denying that you would want to thwart the obvious “good things” that our Lords and Masters are doing to help prevent “terrorism”… It is pretty terrifying for them to think that their slaves might revolt, you know… Your services are ONLY for RELIGIOUS uses with the E-meter, not Good Government Polygraphs. OK?).

      1. Uhm, you are wrong.

        Anymore than I can drink Ayahuasca simply by calling it a ‘religious sacrament’.

        The rastas aren’t running around in public with a joint between their lips for the same reason.

        1. Buzz killer! I bet you pull the wings off butterflies for fun.

  2. I think this guy should consider a career change.

    Like other 20-somethings seeking a career foothold, Andrew Lang, a graduate of Penn State, took an internship at an upstart Beverly Hills production company at age 29 as a way of breaking into movie production. It didn’t pay, but he hoped the exposure would open doors.

    When that internship proved to be a dead end, Mr. Lang went to work at a second production company, again as an unpaid intern. When that went nowhere, he left for another, doing whatever was asked, like delivering bottles of wine to 27 offices before Christmas. But that company, too, could not afford to hire him, even part time.

    A year later, Mr. Lang is on his fourth internship, this time for a company that produces reality TV shows.

    …Why would you keep doing this? I don’t understand. After the second unpaid internship, wouldn’t you be like “Maybe I should get a job that will actually pay me?”

    1. I also love that all the interns in that article are trying to get cool jobs like movie production or the girl trying to be a record executive.

      God forbid you guys go work as a paralegal or something. That wouldn’t be a cool enough position for the precious little snowflakes.

      1. Ever notice that people who remember past lives always remember being Napoleon, George Washington, Alexander the Great or Ceasar? None of them ever claim to have been an obscure nobody.

        For many people their self image is completely dependant on what they think others think of them.

      2. That’s the thing about snowflakes. They’re always falling. Then they pile up and get plowed out of the way. Or cause wrecks until the heat gets them.

      3. Also notice how they always try to get a cool position within and already established hierarchy?

        You wanna be a record producer, fine here’s how. GO OUT AND FIND SOME GOOD TALENT FOR THE LABEL TO SIGN. If you spend all your time fetching coffee then that’s all you’ll be good for.

        The ABC scene from ‘Glengary Glenn Ross’ should be required watching for these kids every morning when they wake up.

            1. If that’s an enema post, there are plenty of people here who might be interested in viewing.

    2. After the first unpaid internship I’d have expected him to be ‘I need some money to pay the damn bills’.

      Are his *parents* supporting him? Or does he have a wife with a good-paying job ‘helping’ him find his dream?

      1. Also – I wouldn’t really consider 29 to be ’20-something seeking a career foothold’. I’d have expected him to have had a job for the better part of the last 7 years and already on a career path (even if its not the one intended from his choice of studies).

        This just screams mid-life crisis, but its at least 10 years early.

        1. Maybe he didn’t think the job he had from 22-28 was something he wanted to do for the rest of his life? That’s not uncommon, and I wouldn’t disparage it by calling it a midlife crisis.

          1. It said he’s been in various internships for 7 years, all of them in the same field.

            Then there’s this from a different person:

            “For some people, being an accountant, taking a safe route, is perfectly fine, but that’s not where my values lie,” Ms. Thomas said.

            I know from this one sentence that I would hate this woman.

            1. My interpretation of the excerpt (sorry, don’t have time to RTFA, but correct me if wrong) is that he started these internships at 29, and was doing something else before that.

              1. You’re right. I misread it.

                I still think four consecutive internships at 29 is ridiculous, particularly when the Times is trying to make me feel sorry for the guy.

                1. four consecutive internships at 29 is ridiculous,

                  Isn’t 29 a bit early for a mid-life crisis?

                  1. Isn’t 29 a bit early for a mid-life crisis?

                    Reminds me of this one episode of Northern Exposure where two of the male characters went on a midlife crisis trip together — trouble was, Holling was 50-something and Chris was in his early 20s. Holling came from a family of long-lived French Canadians and Chris’ family was a bunch of hillbilly drunks.

                    1. Northern Exposure

                      I loved that show! My wife grew up in a little Alaska town she claims the show could have been based on. (And I believe her completely, of course!)

                      But where I lived they preempted it and moved the time slot so much I bet I only saw maybe half of them.

              2. The one’s with the movie stuff – 4 internships in about a year. The other stuff for longer.

            2. Well, I’d say that’s fine – go for another career. But if that’s what you’re doing, stop bitching because its hard to break into.

              Especially when you’re 29, you should know how the world works by now, that you’re not going to get everything handed to you just because you’ve put in the hours.

              1. What these Kidults fail to comprehend is that you usually have to spend 10 years doing BORING SHIT in completely peripheral fields before you get any credibility as a ‘do-er’ that any “fun gig” will risk hiring.

                They don’t “hire” unknown quantities. You have to show your abilities in SOMETHING ELSE, some track record, some demonstration of pre-existing competence. They aren’t hiring people to Tell You What To Do.

                They fundamentally don’t understand this. They want to start “at the bottom” in the “fun world”. Which is why they will stay “at the bottom” because no one higher up in the fun world Comes From the Bottom. They slogged through shit to get something slightly better.

                Note the “aspiring art director”, “aspiring entrepreneur(?)”, “aspiring *record executive*”…

                …if you actually meet people who *currently* have these job titles? (I know at least 3 or 4 of each offhand)…none of them were ‘aspiring’ for these things in their 20s. They were working. The fact they got to these places were a consequence of them being *good at other stuff*.

        2. OK, contrast this

          . . . they are a subculture with a distinct identity, . . .

          with this

          It is a young, rudderless community that is still trying to define itself

          The second sentence is, literally, from the next paragraph.

          Do any of these people read what they write?

          1. Literally?? 🙂

            “Do any of these people read what they write?”

            I refer you to the “Crisis of Competence” =

            “many college graduates have not
            learned to write effectively, they can not read and comprehend any reasonably complex book, they have not learned to reason, and their basic knowledge of the history and institutions of the society in which they live is lamentably poor.”

            When you think this might be maybe a tad “exaggerated”….I offer to you that the response from the author to your critique would most likely be, “I don’t see the problem” – and after having it explained to them would think, “uh, well I still think most people would *get it*, mr picky”

            To put it kindly, “They are comfortable with contradiction”

            They ‘contain multitudes’, as Walt said.

            1. Literally, the first sentence of the very next (of these short) praragraph(s).

    3. But that company, too, could not afford to hire him, even part time.

      It’s a good thing that BO gave America a raise!

      1. He should be thanking BO – by reducing the incentives to hire and increasing the incentives *not* to, BO has saved this man from a lifetime of making a decent amount of money.

    4. I was offered an unpaid internship once, back when I was in high school. I decided that I’d rather make some money.

      -jcr

  3. It can land you in jail because 1) the government couldn’t care less about the first amendment, 2) polygraphs are bullshit, and 3) government apparatchiks get pissed off when their bullshit is exposed.

    -jcr

    1. Snowden by his own admission committed fraud during his most recent onboarding with NSA. Now, maybe you think that his fraud was a necessary evil to get at all those juicy documents, but you can’t deny he committed fraud. So it seems legit to keep people from helping defrauders.

      1. How is it legit to keep people from defrauding those who are defrauding *them*.

        Lie detectors are a scam. They don’t work. You can lose your job, potentially your freedom, should the detector operator decide to mark you as untruthful (whether you are or are not) with no-one to gainsay him.

        I’d say that learning how to pass a lie detector is an essential skill for anyone who is required to take one.

        If they faked up something that looks like boiling water but isn’t and tell you to put your hand in it – honest people will not get burned – should we make it illegal to show you how to satisfy the inquisitor?

        1. You can lose your job, potentially your freedom, should the detector operator decide to mark you as untruthful (whether you are or are not) with no-one to gainsay him.

          That’s not really the case. You can appeal adverse polygraph decisions if a job requiring a clearance is at stake. You absolutely can’t be convicted of anything on the basis of just a polygraph operator’s decision, unless it’s voluntarily taken. There would have to be other evidence.

          1. We both know that what a government coercer calls voluntary is what most people call coerced.

            The only difference is that I’m honest about it while you’re busy sucking authority’s cock.

          2. When you fight the DOE for a clearance you go to a hearing with a DOE prosecutor, a DOE judge and a panel of DOE legal people. If, by some berserk chance, you win then they are required to appeal to another DOE panel. This is what passes as “justice”.

            They can take their phoney-baloney “lie-detectors” and cram them up their collective asses.

            … Hobbit

          3. You should be no more adversely impacted by a failed polygraph than by a failed palm reading.

      2. He committed fraud to put himself into a position where his job description was committing fraud against society.

        *shrugs*

        1. He committed fraud to put himself in a position to commit fraud against the people who were committing fraud against society.

          They say two wrongs don’t make a right. ‘They’ are usually those with authority.

          1. ‘They’ are usually the ones who committed the first wrong.

            1. That’s why ‘they’ don’t want you to commit the second.

        2. Whether you agree with it or not, what the NSA does is not fraud.

          1. Lying to Congress isn’t fraud.

            Right.

            1. By your logic above, lying to liars isn’t fraud. And Congress is the world’s greatest body of liars.

              1. Goalposts go WHOOSH!

                Tulpical.

          2. Lying to American citizens about the scope of their activities is not fraud? Including, standing right up in front of congress and bald-faced lying about what they were doing. Multiple times, retracting and ‘clarifying’ only when Snowden releases some more documents contradicting their claims? That’s not fraud?

            Being an active participant in the shenanigans the DEA and other police agencies pull when they use NSA data and then conjure up a ‘parallel’ trail of evidence to ensure the defendant can’t challenge that evidence in court – that’s not fraud?

            1. There’s no exchange of value connected to congressional testimony or any of those things, so there’s no fraud when falsehoods are spoken.

              1. And yes, there’s an exchange of value. Something like the budget of the NSA for example. Simple power is another.

            2. Being an active participant in the shenanigans the DEA and other police agencies pull when they use NSA data and then conjure up a ‘parallel’ trail of evidence to ensure the defendant can’t challenge that evidence in court – that’s not fraud?

              That’s obstruction of justice. I hadn’t heard of that happening — is that truly something that’s been revealed to have happened?

              1. Yes – that’s a real thing that’s happening.

                Reason itself has covered it.

                1. Well, that’s horrible.

              2. Training materials obtained via FOIA request describe how the DEA creates a parallel chain of evidence to conceal its surveillance program.

                https://reason.com/blog/2014/02…..lware-inte

          3. NSA’s main line of work is illegal wiretapping. The fraud is in their pretense that they’re doing anything else.

            -jcr

  4. The Bill of Rights is nothing compared to the importance of keeping the administration from looking bad.

    1. “The Bill of Rights is nothing compared to the importance of keeping the administration state from looking bad.”

      No need for partisanship on this issue.

    2. Right, because the only danger from people divulging military secrets is making the admin look bad.

      1. Ames
        Barnett
        Wu-Tai Chin
        Kampiles
        Nicholson
        Scranage
        Boone
        Pelton
        Hanssen
        Miller
        Pitts
        Lonetree
        Walker
        Myers
        Boyce
        Daulton-Lee
        Pollard
        Nozette
        Snowden

        A short list of people that the polygraph did not prevent from divulging classified military information to other nations.

        1. Keep in mind – *that* list is just people *caught* and only people who were active during my lifetime. Every single one of them committed espionage during a time when polygraph use was widespread and only a *single* one of them was found out because of a poly.

          1. If it’s only one person then they got caught and by chance also failed a poly.

          2. Selection bias. You’re not taking into account the people who would have engaged in espionage without the polygraph test being in force.

            1. Correction:

              Selection bias. You’re not taking into account the people who would have engaged in espionage without the polygraph test being in force, but were prevented from doing so because they failed poly tests.

              1. I’ll grant you that. But, keep in mind – you’ll never know how many people failed because the polygraph shows them to be dishonest compared to how many failed because they were simply bug-fuck insane.

                As a matter of fact, I’m not really finding any numbers on pass/fail percentages at all.

            2. And let’s not forget all the foreign spies who have been thwarted by clever FBI agents using tea leaves and dowsing rods!

              -jcr

        2. Wu-Tai Chin ain’t nothin’ to fuck with.

          1. ODB – Old Dirty Bureaucrat is my favorite in that group.

      2. You want to believe their intentions are pure, knock yourself out.

        1. knock yourself out.

          with a ball peen hammer.

  5. He went to jail because he was assisting people in committing fraud against a current or potential employer.

    Silly me, I’m one of those old-fashioned libertarians who doesn’t support fraud.

    1. I’m one of those old-fashioned libertarians who does not hold the teacher responsible for what the student does with what they learn.

      1. Besides, polys are bullshit pseudoscience and teaching someone to not be a victim of another’s fraud should be lauded as admirable instead of punished as criminal.

        I guess Tulpa doesn’t like self-defense classes because someone may use the info to start a fight.

        1. Whoever taught you chemistry should be jailed for showing you how to burn a strawman. Sheesh.

          1. That’s funny!

            Not only do you use fallacies as if they are rational arguments, but you confuse rational arguments for fallacies!

          2. I’d be interested in the difference between my example and what you advocate.

            1. There’s a difference between the possibility of abuse (which exists with nearly any practical teaching) and strong indications that the knowledge is going to be abused.

              If the self-defense instructor is advertising that his classes will teach you how to beat the police when they try to arrest you, or continues teaching someone who tells him he wants to become a contract killer, then yeah, I’d hold that instructor responsible for aiding and abetting those crimes.

              1. So jail time should depend on the content of the advertisements for the class but not on the material taught?

                Also, how is teaching how to have a machine that randomly implicates people for lying not accuse you of lying fraud?

                1. It’s not fraud. It’s aiding fraud — fraud committed by your student when (s)he lies during the polygraph examination. Aiding the coverup of a crime is still aiding the crime.

                  1. So if no one lies in a criminal manner then no crime has been committed by the teacher?

                    What about an innocent person that wants to ensure that the random nature of the poly stops them from getting a job or being charged with a crime? Are they committing fraud?

                    1. The teacher’s guilt doesn’t depend on what the student does.

                      If the student mans up and tells the truth, after being coached on how to lie by the teacher, the teacher is still guilty in my book. Just like a person who hires a contract killer who fails to do the job is still guilty of conspiracy to murder.

                    2. So it should be illegal to transmit any information that may be used in a crime to another person for profit?

                      Like karate or computer programming?

                    3. I’m seriously wondering what the point of explaining my position to you was. You’re back to the same misunderstanding you had before.

                    4. Your position (this one and all others) seems to be in opposition of the article for opposition’s sake, I’m just seeing if there is some sort of internal consistency here.

                    5. You know who else asks the same question over and over and cross references the answers to detect inconsistencies…

                    6. And speaking of inconsistency, I can’t both be a knee-jerk contrarian and a constant lover of statist authority at the same time, yet you paint me as both.

                    7. When you’re on a libertarian website you can

      2. I don’t either. I do, however, hold teachers responsible for continuing to teach after they have strong reason to believe the students intend to use what they learn to commit crimes.

        1. You don’t either. Except that you do. Whatever.

          1. I guess you don’t support charges against a person who hires a contract killer either. Because then, according to your logic, you’d be punishing the hirer for what the killer did.

            1. Wow that’s stupid. Seriously stupid.

              A student pays their teacher to learn something, and then in your world the teacher is responsible for what the person who paid money to learn something does.

              You’re equating that to someone paying money to a killer to kill someone.

              In one scenario one party pays another party, then does something themselves.

              In your comparison one party pays another party, then that other party does something.

              Holy shit you’re stupid.

              And dishonest.

              Piece.

              Of.

              Shit.

              1. Either you don’t understand what I wrote or you’re being dishonest. Try reading it again.

            2. Tulpa, where do you draw the line between freedom of speech and being an accessory? Take for example, teaching one how to use a bump key to open just about any lock. Should it be illegal to do so? At first glance, it would seem that any law restricting someone from teaching another how to use a bump key would be unconstitutional. However, if I understand you correctly, if a dude comes up to me and says I want to rob that store, teach me to use a bump key to open their locks, then I would be an accessory to theft. That I could live with. On the other hand, if you’re saying that I’m an still accessory if the guy didn’t tell me his plans before hand and just asked me to teach him about bump keys, then I disagree with you.

              1. There are plenty of legal applications for picking locks. So only the guy in your first example would be punished in Tulpatopia.

                1. There are plenty of legal uses for polygraph fiddling.

                  Imagine if your employer wants to take the time to suss out your sexual orientation or religious beliefs.

                  Sure you can walk away – but since this stuff is none of his business anyway, why not lie to him to make the issue go away?

                  1. If my employer asked me to do that, I would get it in writing, refuse, and then sue his ass to kingdom come if he ever looked at me cross-eyed.

                    There is absolutely no legitimate use for coaching people on how to answer polygraph questions.

                    1. You’re not going to get it in writing – you’re simply going to be ‘made-redundant’ around, let’s say, a month later.

                    2. If the employer is that much of a dickhead he’s going to get you eventually regardless, and you probably don’t want to be working for him anyway.

                    3. That’s just an excuse.

                    4. That seems like a dodge of Agammamon’s entirely plausible hypothetical to me.

                      Additionally, am I wrong that according to your logic, a friend or spouse of an employee that answers the phone and tells an employer their friend-spouse is sick and cannot work when they are not is something that could or should be criminalized?

                    5. Depends on whether you think that calling in to work and claiming to be sick when you’re not is fraud. The addition of a third party is not at issue.

                    6. Do you think calling into work and claiming to be sick when you are not is fraud? If it is not, how is it to be distinguished from beating a polygraph from the same employer in another matter?

                    7. Depends on whether employment decisions are made based on your state of health at that point.

                    8. Couldn’t an employer say that a person lying to them in such a matter would be grounds for termination (a ‘material fact’)?

                    9. Possibly. If your job allows for “personal days”, lying about being sick is irrelevant to employment decisions since you can take the day off whether you’re sick or not.

                    10. “There is absolutely no legitimate use for coaching people on how to answer polygraph questions.”

                      Really? How is helping innocent people avoid failing polygraph tests not a legitimate use?

                    11. And can not a spouse or lover agree to a polygraph test to assuage their significant other’s suspicions? I guess in some sense coaching such a person might be ‘illegitimate,’ but we would not want to criminalize it as fraud, would we?

                    12. It’s a moot point in this case. The guy who went to jail over this knew that his customers were taking national security employment polygraphs.

                    13. Well, if the problem is fraud and further helping someone commit fraud, then the fellow helping his friend beat the polygraph to fool his spouse seems to be in a similar situation.

                    14. Lying to a spouse isn’t fraud unless you’re buying or selling something from them.

                    15. Sure, but you were talking about ‘legitimate’ and non-legitimate uses.

                    16. You were saying there were no legitimate uses of coaching someone to beat a polygraph. I mentioned that polygraphs are used in these ‘suspicious lover’ situations, and you seem to concede no fraud is present there, so it seems that if, by legitimate, you meant in the sense of not violating any law of libertopia you were wrong that there are indeed non-fraudulent examples of beating (and wanting help in doing so) polygraphs.

                    17. I’m not going to get into a discussion of whether “never” is appropriate there. You guys are very creative at coming up with contrived counterexamples. And my main point doesn’t depend on it.

                      The point is, that teaching someone how to get away with lying in an employment situation is abetting fraud.

                    18. Is teaching someone how to pass a polygraph the same thing as teaching them how to get away with lying? That seems like quite a jump.

                    19. If they were planning on telling the truth, the whole truth, nothing but the truth, then coaching will not help them pass the polygraph.

                      This guy in particular was known for coaching “students” on how to massage their responses.

                    20. “If they were planning on telling the truth, the whole truth, nothing but the truth, then coaching will not help them pass the polygraph.”

                      You have no idea how a polygraph works or how accurate it is, do you?

                    21. —“You have no idea how a polygraph works or how accurate it is, do you?”—

                      THIS

                    22. Again, it seems to me the person who helps or instructs someone how to ‘fake sick’ to miss work is under your view abetting fraud, and that seems too big a net.

                    23. There is absolutely no legitimate use for coaching people on how to answer polygraph questions.

                      Other than there is absolutely no legitimate use for a polygraph.

                    24. There is absolutely no legitimate use for coaching people on how to answer polygraph questions.

                      A. Bullfuckingshit. Obtaining knowledge is in and of itself is a legitimate reason. You can’t tell me I can’t learn something because I might use said knowledge to commit a crime.

                      B. What if I wish to become a polygraph manufacturer.

                      Fuck off slaver.

                    25. C: What if I want to know how evade a tyrannical government that’s trying to extract damning information on myself and my compatriots?

                      If “because tyranny” (and the insurrection theory) is a legitimate reason for the Second Amendment, isn’t the ability to withold and hide information from the government in such an instance legitimate also?

      3. The subject of a polygraph is already the victim of a fraud. It’s a self-defense class.

        1. How is it fraud? You’re not buying the polygraph machine.

          1. Well, if polygraphs are held out to be reliable truth detectors when in fact they are not…

            1. Then the person who bought the polygraph has a fraud case against the person who sold it to them. The employee isn’t involved at all.

              1. The subject has been conned into believing this device will clear his name when it’s as dependable as a Ouija board.

              2. He seems to have lost something too, perhaps something like libel has occurred?

                1. He seems to have lost something too,

                  Absolutely. He’s losing his reputation to a steampunk s?ance.

  6. Did they show a specific instance of obstruction of justice, or just make a generalized vague claim?

    Can they jail me for advising someone to keep their mouth shut, or to refuse a polygraph?

    1. Keeping your mouth shut or refusing a polygraph isn’t fraud, so no.

      1. I think you are wrong. I once had an ADA threaten me over just that, advising someone to be silent.

        I doubt he would have been successful, but he could have made my life hell.

        1. Well, I’d agree with you that there’s not much overlap between what the law says and what prosecutors will prosecute and harass you for. It takes a special type of sociopath to make a successful prosecutor in today’s society.

          1. Sociopaths are drawn to the job. That doesnt mean that a real human being cant be successful at it.

            1. I’m not sure about that. I’d hope so, but the shit you usually have to go through to get that job is more than I’d expect a normal person to be able to put up with.

              Then again, that’s true for most high political office. Someone like Rand Paul, who jumps from normal life directly into the US Senate, is the exception. Most of those guys got there by being on the school board, on city council, on county legislatures, in the state assembly, in the state senate, in the US House, and then in the US Senate. Every one of those advancements requires sucking up to progressively more disgusting power brokers.

        2. I’ve been arrested (military police) for advising my Marines to not talk to the Provost Marshall’s without first consulting with the JAG defense advocate and having him there for all questioning sessions.

          1. Well, the military is a whole other world (as you know I’m sure).

            1. Yes – the military justice system actually cares about things like ‘justice’, evidence, civil rights. Things the civilian system tends to run roughshod over.

              But, sometimes a baddun slips through the cracks.

  7. Just saw this Obamacare commercial on Hulu. 27+ year olds need their mama to tell them to sign up like summer camp. Well, judging from the Hollywood wannabe above, maybe they do. Still pitiful.

    1. Holy shit, they are still going on about ‘marketplace’. It is a market solution….yep.

      What a bunch of lying shits the left is.

      1. Which is kinda weird – the left *hates* the marketplace. But they like to hype up this stuff as a ‘market’.

      2. We make you buy a car, tell you how much you’re going to pay, limit your options to a predetermined model and set of features, but we let you pick the color, so FREE MARKET!!!!

        1. Sounds like the IpHone.

      3. Shreek follows the talking points and he continues to call is a market solution.

  8. He went to jail because he was assisting people in committing fraud against a current or potential employer.

    Your authoritarian skirt is showing. You always and everywhere assume the worst, don’t you?

  9. Everybody is a liar, cheat, fraud, scoundrel, assassin or thief.

    Everybody but Tulpa, that is. That’s how he got up there on that cross.

    1. The cross has the best view!

      1. Always look on the bright side of life…?

      2. Always look on the bright side of life…?

      3. Always look on the bright side of life…

        1. Squirrels gone wild…

      4. I can see your house from up here!

  10. Well this thread has been completely Tulpafied. Painful to read, even.

    1. Yep.

    2. Sorry for forcing you to read opinions outside the allowed scope of libertarian thought.

      1. I don’t mind that, it’s the willful stupidity that gets, well, tiresome. 2 months away from reason and you haven’t gotten any brighter, Tulp.

        1. One man’s willful stupidity is another man’s morsel of adamant heterodoxy.

          1. No, you’re just a fool. It’s ok, I’m sure your mother lov– uh, well I’m sure she kind of likes you, at least.

      2. Yeah, no one here has ever run into a mundane authoritarian with tired arguments and a penchant for power worship.

        You’re boring and you’re a cliche, and there’s nothing special or exceptional that you bring to anyone here.

        1. Whatever. People behave as if I am special here.

          1. Come on now. You are special, Tulpa.

        2. And while I hate to be as much of a jerkface as you are being here, what exactly is the special sauce that you bring to the table here, GBN? Has no one here ever run into another dogmatic libertarian who hates cops.

          1. That you think any of that matters to anyone but you is telling.

    3. You actually read most of his comments? The more fool, you.

  11. Huffington Post writer hates on the rich for hating on the poor

    America’s 21st Century plutocrats who keep exposing themselves by shooting off their mouths express a kind of joy in witnessing the agitation of their perceived social inferiors. It’s old wine in an old bottle, a strain of Calvinism that reflects their membership in an exclusive globalized elite. Rather than direct their contemplation inward at their own miserable souls they project it outward at the 99 percent.

    I consider no day lived until I have spat on 5 beggars and struck 5 more with my ivory tipped cane.

    There’s also a tradition in America embodied by some of our best leaders, like Franklin Delano Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy, which shows that just because someone is rich doesn’t mean one has to be a greedy asshole.

    No, they were just assholes period. But FDR is a whole other class than JFK in awfulness.

    Many of these same rich right-wing white guys who complain about not being treated fairly use their political muscle to squeeze their tax burden down to zero and spend lavishly on pet political projects like “stand your ground laws,” initiatives stripping workers of collective bargaining rights, slashing social programs, and so on.

    I think I’ll legalize orphan fight clubs in Oregon this weekend. What are you guys planning on doing with your expropriated wealth?

    1. I think I’ll legalize orphan fight clubs in Oregon this weekend. What are you guys planning on doing with your expropriated wealth?

      If you host it under the Hawthorne bridge in Portland where all the Occupy people do their drum thing I will be overjoyed to attend.

    2. Getting assassinated was the best thing that ever happened to JFK, at least as far as his legacy is concerned. This is the guy who won the presidency using election fraud and escalated the Vietnam War to the point there was no going back. Thanks to Mr. Oswald (or whoever, if you’re conspiracy minded) all that stuff got blamed on his successors.

      1. Here’s the thing: both FDR and JFK came from wealthy, privileged families.

        What the author calls “greed” was never a necessary part of either’s life because they never wanted for anything. If you start out poor and work your way up to great wealth by building a successful company that must compete in the market, you’re going to have a different view of work ethic and what success means than someone who was born to the right family and had the luxury of going to the best schools to study politics and law.

        But I will give JFK credit for his voluntary service in the Navy during WWII. Someone with his connections did not need to take combat duty.

        1. Eh, if you were someone with aspiration for real political power this would make the climb much easier.

          1. True, but WW2 was not like our more modern conflicts. The danger was real.

            1. As demonstrated by Jo Jr

        2. Generally agreeing with that, which is why I’m not shedding tears over “victims” of the estate tax. Though there have been wealthy families that forced their kids to make their own fortunes rather than inheriting one.

          But I will give JFK credit for his voluntary service in the Navy during WWII. Someone with his connections did not need to take combat duty.

          The question is whether he had John Kerry-esque intentions in his volunteerism. If he had escaped military duty during WW2 his political career might have suffered.

          1. which is why I’m not shedding tears over “victims” of the estate tax.

            Theft is still theft. I may not like that inherited wealth enables a certain class of politicians to develop ivory tower idealism and elitism, but that’s no reason to advocate wealth redistribution in that manner.

            The question is whether he had John Kerry-esque intentions in his volunteerism. If he had escaped military duty during WW2 his political career might have suffered.

            That’s possible, but I doubt he went in planning on nearly dying and having an amazing war story like PT-109. Plus there were other options for serving available to him that involved less risk.

            No one seemed to hold it against Nixon that he spent the war in various offices doing logistics.

            1. No one seemed to hold it against Nixon that he spent the war in various offices doing logistics.

              That’s because outside of killing sons of bitches, logistics is the most important role in warfare!

            2. but that’s no reason to advocate wealth redistribution in that manner.

              The owner is dead — the wealth is going to be redistributed one way or another. Corpses don’t have property rights afaiac.

              1. The owner is dead — the wealth is going to be redistributed one way or another. Corpses don’t have property rights afaiac.

                This is ridiculous. If someone wants to give their property to heirs their wishes should be respected. They made that decision while they were still alive, and it’s a clear violation of their property rights to deny their request once they’re dead.

                For someone who’s such a hardcore and old school libertarian when it comes to defrauding employers, you sure have issues with this property rights thing.

                1. They made that decision while they were still alive, and it’s a clear violation of their property rights to deny their request once they’re dead.

                  Corpses don’t have rights. If they wanted to choose who gets their stuff without getting the govt involved, they should perform the transfer before they die.

                  But as it is, the govt has to delegate authority to the executor to withdraw money from accounts that are not his, etc. So it’s legit that they get a cut.

              2. Corpses don’t have property rights afaiac.

                Then why bother honoring and enforcing a person’s last will and testament if they don’t have rights after they expire?

                Isn’t it silly to say that if you transfer you wealth to another person the day you die that’s okay but if you ask for it to be done the next day you’re SOL?

                1. Then why bother honoring and enforcing a person’s last will and testament if they don’t have rights after they expire?

                  Because if we really applied libertarian philosophy to the letter, we’d have a free-for-all where everybody rushes to grab a dead person’s property before someone else does. That’s not conducive to societal order.

                  1. That’s an absolutely idiotic. How is this libertarian philosophy?

                    1. *statement.

        3. JFK wasn’t supposed to be the son who became President. That was Joe Jr., until he got himself blown up. So JFK had to play “war hero who becomes president.”

    3. Guns for car-jackers. I hate that the poor have cars. Next week, I’ll cut off the data service to their smart phones. Try taking a shit at the office without Candy Crush requests, working poor!

      HA-HA-HA-ha-ha-HA-HA!

      THIS IS BUT ONE OF MY MANY EVIL LAUGHS!

    4. Orphan fights? Does any have the concession on the loser meat yet? I will pay in gold.

      1. What? You didn’t follow the sage advice given here to short yours?

        1. When someone who smells of shit gives you financial advise, ask first why he has not used his self-professed acumen to purchase an outhouse.

    5. The targets of these mendacious attacks are never the cronies, a la party faithful, that become fabulously rich scamming the shit out of the taxpayers if they belong to the right party.

      In fact they cheer them on.

  12. What are you guys planning on doing with your expropriated wealth?

    I’m going to use my moustache-twirling superpower to get the city to turn over the high school to me so I can tear it down and strip mine coal on the land. I’ll teach those kids some skills they can rely on for the rest 0f their lives.

    1. Even if you have to import the coal and bury it, to be strip-mined later right?

    1. So where’s the Sheldon Richman article on Maduro’s heroic battle against the CIA wreckers who want to sabotage this heroic experiment to free a country from Yanquis Imperialism?

      1. So you think the CIA or other US agencies should try to ‘correct’ other countries that descend into this kind of illiberalism?

        1. Ya know – I wanna say yes. That some guiding hand needs to come down and smack the shit out of these pols and straighten out this mess before it becomes a bloodbath.

          But then I remember that that guy doesn’t exist – certainly he’s nowhere to be found in *this* government.

          Sigh, bloodbath it is then.

          1. Even then, if it fails you’re handing the dictator an excuse for why all his schemes fail. The Castros wouldn’t have survived 20 years without the US being a believable bogeyman.

            1. They don’t need that – even if you *don’t* interfere (as we haven’t in Venezuela) they’ll still say that our interference is the reason that their plan isn’t working out right.

              1. Well Chavez/Maduro haven’t been in power nearly as long as the Castros have, so it’s too early to tell whether Tulpa’s assertion holds water (if we’re using Venezuela as a proxy for Cuba)

              2. True, but those claims are a lot more credible when we actually have been interfering in the past.

          2. Agammamon, keep in mind that that guiding hand usually means a bloodbath anyway.

            Venezuela is the way it is because of…Venezuelans. You cant magically make them not who they are. They have to work this out of their systems on their own.

        2. So you think the CIA or other US agencies should try to ‘correct’ other countries that descend into this kind of illiberalism?

          Burn Strawman Burn!

          1. Yes, and no strawman was involved in your initial criticism of Richman.

            1. From my reading of Richman, I think Winston was spot on. Poe’s law and all that.

      1. man that takes me back

    2. Over this weekend in DC was the International Students for Liberty Conference where they had one panel on war and American imperialism or something like that.

      Oliver Stone was on the panel and according to some Twitter accounts it got awkward when a young Guatemalan woman asked Stone why he is so sympathetic to abusive and authoritative left-wing Latin American regimes.

      Stone proceeded to compare the Venezuelan opposition to Tea Party Republicans and assert that Maduro had a legitimate democratic mandate to continue Chavez’s legacy without any need to consider the “sore losers” on the right.

      1. It must be really freeing not having to think through the consequences of one’s knee jerk political reactions. When confronted just conflate.

        1. “It must be freeing…”

          Not if you have a conscience.

    1. They’re right, it’s an ellipse, not a circle, you Copernicus-fellator.

      1. A circle is a special kind of ellipse

        1. I suggest you read all the collected works of Johannes Kepler before you embarrass yourself further.

          1. In the case where the semi-major and -minor axed are equal in magnitude, the ellipse is, by definition, a circle. Much in the same way that an rectangle whose sides are equal in length in length is a square.

            Aren’t you some kind of math professor or something?

  13. Well, if Tulpa’s still here I hereby take this opportunity to tell him I’m sorry I called him a “copsucker.”

    My priest was explaining in his homily how when an avowed Christian does or says something nasty, other people are like, “well, this is what Christians consider acceptable!”

    I’m also so sorry to everyone for dropping vulgarities in my comments.

    1. I notice that you don’t promise not to do it again.

      1. If I want to [bleep]ing do it again, I [bleep]ing well will, you [bleep] [bleep]

        I mean, I’ll do my best to clean up my language.

        1. I see – you’re gonna keep doing it, but you’ll feel bad about it.

          1. I love you too!

    2. ‘Copsucker?’ He got off easy, I have been on the receiving end of worse from you than that. And at least is was clever that time.

      1. Well, then, if I said worse I’m sorry for that, too.

        1. ‘It’s all good’ as they say.

    3. My priest was explaining in his homily how when an avowed Christian does or says something nasty, other people are like, “well, this is what Christians consider acceptable!”

      You should tell your priest that by backtracking you may give the impression that christians don’t stand by what they say.

      Just kidding, I find it admirable that you can try to be the better person.

      1. I agree, very laudable.

    4. Notorious, I insist on having the entirety of the language at my disposal, even if I sometimes choose them poorly.

      And hey, how the fuck are you going to continue being notorious if you go around apologizing? Geeez.

    5. As your penance, you must distribute my law and order libertarian newsletter at mass next week.

    6. Not a christian, so I have no problem calling Tulpa a copsucker.

    1. I love that progressives have lost their minds to such an extent that they seriously believe the problem with American public schools is that they aren’t left-wing enough.

      1. Haven’t they always believed that though?

        1. It’s the sole reason MATT DAMON doesn’t put his kids in public schools, they just aren’t progressive enough for his tastes.

        2. Haven’t they always believed that though?

          Sure, but schools weren’t always run exclusively by left-wing Democrats. I think leftists had a point when they were arguing that schools bred conformity in the 1950’s and 1960’s.

          Of course, then they took over the schools and got the opportunity to enforce their own conformity, at which point forced conformity became totally okay.

          1. Sure, but schools weren’t always run exclusively by left-wing Democrats. I think leftists had a point when they were arguing that schools bred conformity in the 1950’s and 1960’s

            Of course, then they took over the schools and got the opportunity to enforce their own conformity, at which point forced conformity became totally okay.

            So this refutes my post how?

            1. Irish’s post that you responded to mentions how leftists have lost their mind for thinking that public schools are left-leaning enough. His point is that this wouldn’t always have been a crazy viewpoint, but that it is today.

            2. There was a time when progressive arguments that schools were too ‘right-wing’ were actually true.

              1. I suppose so.

                Of course since they now control the public schools and they suck they have no recourse but to keep complaining about the wreckers and saboteurs destroying the public schools.

              2. How and when were public schools ever “too right wing”?

                1. How and when were public schools ever “too right wing”?

                  Depends of what you think of “right wing” and in certain areas I suppose.

                  I do wonder of many schools in the 1950s and 1960s be filled with Bircher teachers attacking the New Deal, WWII and Interstate highways.

                  1. 12 years of PS between 1969-1980 I had a total of one JBS . Fortunately he was my civics teacher. He wasn’t a career “educator” but had a 1 or 2 year contract between real jobs.

                    FLASHBACK: There were a bunch of copies of Anthem on the shelf of one of my English classes. We didn’t read it. It was assigned reading for the “slow-learners” class. I shit you not.

                    OK, the more I think back our music teacher bootlegged so much Christian stuff into the curriculum she got called out a few times over it. She wouldn’t last 5 minutes today.

                    Every 16mm educational film began with “Dixie” playing over the state flag and seal until 1974.

                    1. What city was this?

                    2. Decatur, GA. Just outside Atlanta.Its changed a lot since then.

                    3. OK, the more I think back our music teacher bootlegged so much Christian stuff into the curriculum she got called out a few times over it. She wouldn’t last 5 minutes today.

                      Oh?

                    4. Sabine Parish isn’t like most of the country. Ask Suthenboy, it isn’t too far from his neck of the woods.

                    5. In the above nostalgic reminiscence I meant my civics teacher was close to being a Bircher and definitely against the New Deal, Great Society, supported Reagan over Ford in ’76, talked about liberty a lot etc.

                    6. Sabine Parish isn’t like most of the country.

                      Agreed. But the fact that shit still occurs in this day and age blows my mind. I would think a Superintendent of Schools would have more animal cunning honed by a long career of political game-playing than to double-down on her teacher’s stupidity, but I guess I would be wrong.

                      Do you know if Sabine is near any those S.E. Asian communities that popped up in the Gulf after the Vietnamese Boat People thing?

                    7. Sabine is well North of there. The SE Asian communities are in heavily Catholic coastal areas. Sabine is rural piney woods on the Texas line. They had a huge racial massacre during reconstruction.

                    8. I see. Interesting. My original line of thinking was maybe it was a “this side of the tracks and that side of the tracks” rivalry. But I guess it’s more just principals and superintendents running schools as their own little fiefdoms and not liking it when being challenged sort of thing.

                    9. W/o checking I’d guess Sabine’s total school enrollment is probably much less than a single high school in a typical suburban district.

                    10. Sabine Parish isn’t like most of the country.

                      Making blanket statements about every school in the US then and now ain’t so easy.

                      Of course how can we forget back in the day when public schools were supposed to about teaching Catholics and immigrants to be proper Protestants.

                    11. Paul E. Petersons’ second to latest book starts with a savage take down of Horace Mann. He eventually gets around to MLK Jr. and his negative influence on education reform, as Peterson has balls of steel. I recommend the book as it is a quick enough read and provides intellectual ammunition for arguments supporting school choice.

                2. IDK if “right-wing” is the right word, but public schools historically encouraged conformity, deference to authority, etc. Of course, they still do. But I think that back then, the bent was not as left-wing. You probably had more whitewashing of certain historical events that leftists today would decry, and not as much blatant left-wing propaganda.

                  1. Well the problem is leftists in the South were big supporters of Segregation and were Confederate apologists too. Oh and the Fundamentalists used(?) to have leftist tendencies.

                    1. That’s not really relevant to my post. The leftists who sought to change the narrative on those things (and many others) in public schools were not the same ones that supported those things.

                    2. And I wasn’t even really talking about segregation or Confederate-apologia either

                    3. But did the leftists or the rightists of the past build the public school system? If the former then is it really appropriate to say that the public schools “used to be right-wing” because modern progs have different ideas?

                    4. That said I imagine the rightists had a bit more clout in the school system until recently. I’m not sure if that makes them “right-wing” though. And then this leaves the question of what counts as “right-wing.”

                    5. *I’m not sure if that makes the school system “right-wing” though*

                      And can anyone who around in the 1950s and 1960s tell if there was a general attitude that the School system was wonderful?

                    6. I think of “right wing” in the 60s and 70s as Goldwater/Reagan/ John Birch Society etc. Jimmy Carter won GA in ’76 as a favorite Son. If Teddy Kennedy was the Dem nominee Ford would have carried GA in a landslide.

                    7. I would say both, perhaps? I agree that one really has to clarify what “right” and “left” mean in this context (just another reason I despise the dichotomy). I also want to point out that Irish was the one who said they were right-wing, not me. As I said, I don’t know if I’d say they used to be right-wing, but definitely moreso than today, and there are probably a good number of examples that could be pointed to where public schools taught things that modern leftists would frown upon, while many modern right-wingers would applaude.

                    8. Calidissident the reason I mentioned creationism, segregation and Confederate apologia is because there would have been a time when these attitudes would have been taught in some schools (certainly in the South for the latter two) and wouldn’t have been regarded as particularly right-wing, at least by the locals which further muddles the context of what “left” and “right” mean.

          2. Of course, then they took over the schools and got the opportunity to enforce their own conformity, at which point forced conformity became totally okay.

            That’s why ‘Dead Poets Society’ is a libertarian movie even though it negatively portrays an austere, conservative boarding school for the elite.

            If you remade that movie today the Robin Williams character could espouse the same transcendentalist philosophy but only have it be in contradiction to school bureaucracies and progressive ideology.

            1. If you remade that movie today

              Well you couldn’t since that means you are making a nihilist teahadist attack on the Public School system!

      2. I imagine it depends on where you go to school at. We have seen stories here recently about creationism in classes and excluding Hindu students and such. I went to school in the South and we learned a version of the Civil War and Reconstruction that was more or less Confederate apologia.

        1. This is a good point. And as someone that grew up going to public schools in California, with mostly left-leaning or leftist teachers, even then I can think of a couple examples of things we were taught (or not taught) about history that leftists would decry as whitewashing, and with good reason (of course, I was also taught a good deal of left-biased accounts of history). For example, I’ve always been fairly knowledgeable about history for my age, and I had absolutely no idea about the dark side of the history of Christopher Columbus until my Spanish teacher (who was a Peruvian woman of mostly indigenous descent) taught us a little about it in high school. As a kid, I was taught the “Everyone thought the world was flat, they laughed at Columbus, he proved them wrong, he traded with the natives, brought chocolate and spices back to Europe, and paved the way for America” version of Columbus’s story. Much of which is bullshit (such as the part about people thinking the world was flat), and a few key details were left out as well.

          1. You are assuming that the creationists and the Confederate and Columbus apologists in the South were the “right-wingers” of their time. William Jennings Bryan and Tom Watson show that this isn’t so simple.

            1. Did I mention Confederates or creationists in my post? Did I mention the South? Did I even mention the right-wing? Your post is literally a giant string of strawmen.

              Regardless, while it is true that contrary to leftist notions, there were many prominent leftists historically who supported the things you describe, when talking about political bias today, that’s not particularly relevant. How many leftists today are pushing for creationism, or Confederate or Columbus apologia in schools? Almost everyone who supports those things today is on the right-wing of contemporary American politics.

              1. Well I do think bringing up the views of past leftists is important to the discussion that schools of the past were “right-wing.”

                1. Was your post misplaced? Read what Bo’s comment that I replied to said. You were the only one who brought up the past in this subthread. Hell, you were the only one that even mentioned right-wingers.

            2. “Columbus apologists”

              lol

              There was a refreshing lack of presentism in my PS history. Not that we weren’t taught slavery was very bad, segregation wrong and the Trail of Tears was tragic and an atrocity.

              1. “lol”

                Why is that funny? Do you seriously deny that there has been a tendency to massively whitewash Columbus, to the point of often not even acknowledging his faults (which were far from minor, even by the standards of his time)?

                “There was a refreshing lack of presentism in my PS history.”

                Meh. I don’t care for historical cultural relativism any more than I care for it today. I’m willing to give people (whether in the past, or people today living in different cultures) some benefit of the doubt for the context they were raised or lived in, but that only goes so far. People of the past weren’t biologically incapable of behaving morally and it’s not like everyone was suddenly divinely blessed with knowledge that slavery, imperialism, genocide, etc. were wrong and you can’t hold people before that responsible for their actions. The fact that people and societies eventually changed their minds on these things indicates that the people we’re talking about were capable of doing so as well. There was no fundamental shift in human nature that occurred in the last 50-100 years. And in many cases (Columbus being a pretty good example), the “presentism” canard is brought up even when there were plenty of contemporaries who criticized these actions and people.

                1. historical cultural relativism

                  Well if you’re not a cultural relativist you know that the New World was full of people as bad as, and much worse than Columbus and the later Conquistadors.

                  DeSoto is widely regarded as some sort of monster in academe today but the two previous Spanish reconnaissance attempts of the SE North American interior didn’t make it out of Florida alive.

                  1. Actually, since I’m not an uneducated moron who generalizes two entire continents that contained thousands of different groups of people, I’m aware that there was a wide variety of people living in the pre-Columbian Americas. Could you find a few people in that area that were worse than Columbus or some of the Conquistadors? Sure. However, trying to twist history to somehow make the native people the aggressors in the colonization of the Americas is absurd.

                    And since we’re discussing Columbus, I fail to see what relevance the entirety of the Americas has. Columbus explored the Caribbean, landed at a couple places on the Central American coast, and most importantly, was governor of Hispaniola, not all of North and South America. By his own accounts, the natives of the island were a peaceful people, whom he proceeded to conquer, kill, torture, rape, and exploit. None of that is liberal PC revisionism. Those are cold, hard historical facts, and those are things he was criticized for by his contemporaries. He was removed as governor in large part due to how poorly he treated the natives, and given the low standards of the time, that says a lot.

                  2. You make it sound like DeSoto and the previous Spanish expeditions were just taking a peaceful stroll through the park and make assumptions that the natives were the ones who initiated violence. The Spanish were the ones attempting to colonize land that wasn’t theirs. When Narvaez (the leader of the second expedition) landed, he claimed the entire land as belonging to Charles V and declared that war would be made against any natives who refused to convert to Christianity.

                    Lastly, even ignoring all that, I’m not sure how other people doing bad things justifies bad things. Sounds like more relativistic “They did it too!” BS. Was Hitler and the Japanese starting WWII not that bad since Stalin was a really evil guy, the British and French had large colonial empires, the US had several “territories” in the Pacific, had segregation at the time, not to mention mistreatment of natives and historical slavery, the Chinese were led by two factions, one of whom was communists led by Mao (and while Chiang Kai-Shek and the Kuomintang were far better than Mao and the communists, they were pretty flawed themselves)? Does any sane person think that any of that stuff excuses the actions of Germany and Japan (and their allies) in WWII? No. Neither does the fact that some Native Americans did bad things excuse what Europeans did. I never made any sort of claim about Native Americans all being a bunch of peaceful “noble savages,” so none of that is relevant.

              2. To give another example, a lot of Confederate sympathizers completely ignore the fact that slavery had been abolished in almost the entire Western world by 1860 (it had been banned almost everywhere in Europe, and IIRC Spain was the only imperial power in the Americas that allowed it after the USA/CSA did, and at that time their holdings had been reduced to Puerto Rico and Cuba. I believe Brazil was the only independent country in the Americas besides the US where slavery was legal at the time). It’s not like it was just a few crazy abolitionists who thought slavery was wrong at the time.

    2. I strongly suspect the Left harps on the “Founding Fathers owned slaves” talking point for the sole purpose of discrediting the appeal to their writings and our Constitution for support of a limited government.

      1. I think we have a winner!

      2. There’s no other reason for them to do it. Since no one now thinks it’s okay to own slaves, they aren’t making an actually useful political argument.

        It’s a pure ad hominem that’s meant to attack other ideas the founders had that were totally unrelated to their owning slaves.

        1. Depending on the person bringing it up, they make have a couple, slightly different reasons

          1) They might be mentioning it to attack the quasi-deification that the Founding Fathers receive at times, especially from conservatives. Which is a fair point. They were flawed human creatures who weren’t always right. But, as you said, IMO that doesn’t somehow discredit all their ideas, and it’s important to keep in mind that the Founders were not some monolithic entity. There were many who were abolitionists.

          2) As you said, oftentimes leftists bring it up to discredit ideas such as constitutional governance, limited government, etc. by attacking the hypocrisy of many of its architects. Again, IMO the fact that there were major shortcomings in applying the principles of liberty, equality under the law, and limited government doesn’t negate the value of those ideas. Leftists are pretty big on democracy. Athens, the first democracy, was a pretty oppressive society in many ways, with slaves forming a majority of the population, women having limited rights, an imperialistic foreign policy, and many other flaws. Yet somehow that doesn’t discredit democracy in their eyes, whereas the flaws of America at the time of its Founding somehow discredit limited government and the Constitution.

          1. Leftists are pretty big on democracy.

            You clearly don’t understand what a progressive means when he says he’s ‘pro-democracy.’

            You see, since only progressives care about democracy, only progressive ideas are democratic. As a result, when people vote against progressive ideas they’re actually voting against democracy.

            At that point, the progressives must install some kind of a dictator in order to restore the democratic order.

            1. Their love of Democracy is just a means to gain power, like the Communists and their “Democratic Republics”

            2. Good point, but then again, most conservatives don’t really support consistently limited government or adherence to the Constitution.

              1. I think conservatives really have the same problem as leftists, they want limited government, but in some areas and not others, with little coherent guiding principle other than ‘traditional values.’

              2. Stop with that nonsense.

                Conservatives love freedom unless it’s the freedom to do drugs, the freedom to pay for sex, the freedom to marry someone of the same gender…

                1. Well, come on Irish, clearly that issues don’t actually matter. If only those damn comsotarians would shut up about pot and the gays then we would have a free-market paradise led by Mitt Romney.

                  1. …the freedom to walk down the street without being stop-and-frisked, the freedom to live in a country America decides is in need of droning…

                    1. Well, to be fair, Irish, they do support the freedom of middle and upper class white people to walk around without being stop-and-frisked. Though that group still needs to worry about a SWAT raid if they have a little marijuana in the house (or live by someone who does).

                2. Conservatives love freedom unless it’s the freedom to do drugs, the freedom to pay for sex, the freedom to marry someone of the same gender…

                  This is true, but at the same time I think it’s easier to convince, even if through attrition, a conservative to tolerate those things than a progressive to reconsider their economic beliefs.

                  We’ve already seen the neo-con faction of the conservative party lose support to anti-war, pro-civil liberties Republicans like Rand Paul.

                  1. “This is true, but at the same time I think it’s easier to convince, even if through attrition, a conservative to tolerate those things than a progressive to reconsider their economic beliefs.”

                    I think it depends on the type of conservative. Devoutly religious conservatives generally have some unlibertarian positions that are pretty hard to get them to change their minds about without giving up their religion.

                    1. It’s certainly a very broad assertion, but I do think conservatives are, in general, more amenable to libertarianism than progressives because we don’t demand they acknowledge something they hate as good.

                      If I could get my born-again Christian dad to vote for Ron Paul I’m sure you could get a lot of other believers to come around even if it’s mainly because they view the Democrats as more hostile to their cultural beliefs.

                    2. Fair enough. At the same time, I think a big reason why many young people who aren’t that political, but nonetheless lean left when they do ponder political questions or vote, do so not so much out of dogmatic adherence to left-wing economic beliefs, but more out of an acceptance of their image as socially tolerant, cool, etc., or more accurately IMO, a rejection of Republicans/conservatives for being the opposite. And while public schools and the media may distort that the picture quite a bit, conservatives and Republicans give them enough legitimate ammo to do so.

                      My point being that if we envisioned a world where the Libertarian Party replaced the Republican Party as one of the two dominant parties, I think a lot of young people (maybe not so much right away, but at least over time, as new generations are raised) who otherwise would have become (somewhat apathetic) progressives would instead tend to support the LP.

                    3. The dilemma for the Republican Party in real life is whether this group of people, some moderates, and actual current libertarians, are worth the cost of potentially pissing off the conservative base. I’m hoping for a gradual change in the GOP, which I think is the best realistic possibility. If the GOP adopted a policy of drug legalization, legalizing gambling and prostitution, gay marriage (or eliminating marriage licenses and allowing anyone to make contracts regarding the things marriage concerns, regardless of the number or gender combination of the people involved), open borders, ending SS and Medicare, cutting military spending, etc. I don’t think the net gain would be positive. As a libertarian, I personally would love it, but as an objective observer, I don’t think it would pay off right away. Hopefully Rand Paul can get the ball rolling in the right direction.

                    4. ^^ This right here^^

                      Cali, the best argument you can make is, “C’mon, you know you can’t legislate righteousness (or, salvation).” Don’t use morality, as it’s an argument that some love to get into, and there is a distinction.

          2. I think leftists do value limited government, it is just that they do so in a way devoid of any real guiding principle. Most leftists I know would be horrified at a government that could, for example, restrict abortion rights, criminalize sodomy and they think marijuana should be legalized, for example.

            1. They may dislike a government doing those things, but they offer no consistent framework of a system that would limit the government in those areas, but not others that they want a big government. There’s no underlying philosophy besides “We like these things, and dislike these other things.” Look at Tony; on any issue where he supports government activism, he trots out his majoritarian appeal to democracy, social contract, etc. a pretty common leftist trope. When we ask him why that logic doesn’t apply to abortion or gay rights, he has no real answer that justifies the distinction.

              1. I agree with everything there and have noticed the exact same thing (and pointed it out to) Tony several times.

                The closest principle some of them offer, without actually spelling it out usually, is some vague ‘rooting for the underdog’ idea. So, limited government if it is persecuting gays or women, unlimited government if it is persecuting fundamentalists or men.

              2. “…. they offer no consistent framework of a system that would limit the government in those areas, but not others that they want a big government.”

                This. The very nature of progressivism is unlimited power. They want to do big things, to make progress. You cant make progress if your power is limited. Thus they have contempt for rule of law. They dont advocate for limited government because it never occurs to them that all that unlimited power will fall into the wrong hands, which it invariably does.

              3. “…. they offer no consistent framework of a system that would limit the government in those areas, but not others that they want a big government.”

                This. The very nature of progressivism is unlimited power. They want to do big things, to make progress. You cant make progress if your power is limited. Thus they have contempt for rule of law. They dont advocate for limited government because it never occurs to them that all that unlimited power will fall into the wrong hands, which it invariably does.

            2. think leftists do value limited government,

              Lol.

              1. I think it would be hard to deny they do in the areas I named. That they drift away on the very next area put to them proves my other point (about it being unprincipled).

                1. Sort of – I think they *don’t* like the idea of limited government. They just fool themselves into thinking that if the get the right people in charge then the government *won’t* do things they disapprove of but still retain the complete freedom to act in ways they *do* approve of.

                  And anytime the government does something *bad* its either ‘misguided action/unintended consequence’ or ‘the wrong people were in office.

                  1. But with that – I think the ‘right’ believes pretty much the same way.

                2. No their answer is almost always more governmental action to address whatever has them worked up at the moment. If you took a poll of leftists and asked them how they would solve these problems to their satisfaction new laws and regulations would almost certainly be the answer most frequently given.

                3. I think it would be hard to deny they do in the areas I named.

                  The flaw in your statement is exposed by anti-discrimination laws being extended to sexual orientation.

                  If lefties were interested in limited government, they would stop at gay marriage, and not screw with anti-discrimination laws.

                  Also see the eugenics movement. If it weren’t for Hitler pissing in the punch, they’d still be sterilizing/aborting “undesirables”.

              2. Kids these days. Remember, the NSF poll found a majority of them believe astrology is scientific.

      3. I do not see how you can not harp on the people writing and singing paeans to liberty while they trafficked and oversaw actual human slavery. Around here we would jump on a politician for merely saying one thing and then saying another later, and on matters much less in violation of basic, fundamental libertarian values.

        1. Bo, as I’ve said, I think it’s totally fair to call out Founding Fathers who were owned slaves for being hypocritical, and criticizing the quasi-deification of them in our society. However, usually, leftists do this to discredit ideas of limited government, constitutional governance, etc. which constitutes an ad hominem and non sequitir. Furthermore, in this case, they’re arguing that no one teaches kids about something that IMO is a pretty well-known fact (maybe not the exact number, but it’s pretty common knowledge that early presidents owned slaves).

        2. I do not see how you can not harp on the people writing and singing paeans to liberty while they trafficked and oversaw actual human slavery.

          Still doesn’t take away from those who walked the walk, like Thomas Paine, for example.

          1. True. Any criticism of the Founding Fathers on this issue needs to acknowledge that they weren’t a monolithic entity.

          2. Or John Adams. Though he did commit a fairly egregious offense against his supposed belief in liberty by signing the Alien and Sedition Acts.

            1. Bache had accused George Washington of incompetence and financial irregularities, and “the blind, bald, crippled, toothless, querulous Adams” of nepotism and monarchical ambition. He was arrested in 1798 under the Sedition Act, but he died of yellow fever before trial

              Those were the days. Can you imagine the reaction if anyone of note publicly referred to any politician as blind, bald, crippled, toothless, or querulous? The media currently loses its shit over anonymous comments to Youtube videos these days. Much less if anyone correctly labeled Obama as the graying, grinning, elephant-eared doofus that he is.

        3. It’s hard to empathize with today, but they were raised in a culture that taught that slavery was for the slave’s own good. Coupled with slaves’ understandable passive-aggression (breaking tools, “forgetting” tasks, etc) it’s possible that they really thought releasing a slave out into a world they could not possibly fend for themselves in would be an act of cruelty.

          This is of course horribly wrong, but people can fool themselves into believing a lot of horribly wrong things.

          1. I still think it’s fair to point out the hypocrisy of those beliefs. It’s not like there weren’t plenty of political philosophers at that time (or earlier in history) who thought that a strong government or monarch was necessary to take care of people, because the little people were too stupid/lazy/violent/whatever to be left to their own devices. It’s not hard to see how that parallels the view you presented.

            Furthermore, given that many, like Washington, for example, freed their slaves when they died, it seems that in many cases selfish personal interest may have played a greater role than the misguided “benevolence” you describe.

            “It’s hard to empathize with today, but they were raised in a culture that taught that slavery was for the slave’s own good.”

            I’m not calling you personally out for this, but this brings up something that I think is quite interesting. Conservatives today almost universally condemn leftists who use cultural relativism to justify or excuse barbaric customs or acts committed by people living in non-Western cultures. At the same time, many, and probably most, conservatives seem pretty willing to apply cultural relativism to people (and to be frank, it’s usually white people who did bad things that are being discussed) living in different time periods. The same people that despise “How can you judge them, they live in a different culture?” are often quite willing to say “It was a different time.”

            1. Main difference is that leftists in many cases are trying to prevent those awful customs from being banned or discouraged by Westerners or more civilized elements in those other countries. I don’t know of any modern conservatives who are trying to legitimize slavery in the present day because Washington did it.

              1. “Main difference is that leftists in many cases are trying to prevent those awful customs from being banned or discouraged by Westerners or more civilized elements in those other countries.”

                Fair enough, although that wasn’t really the point I was making. I wasn’t really talking about supporting or opposing changing those things, just the moral judgment of the people who do those things. I’m saying that there are a lot of conservatives who will say something like “Yes that (slavery, treatment of Native Americans, etc.) was awful, but person X isn’t automatically a horrible human because of it, you have to consider the time they lived in” but would not give that personal benefit of the doubt to someone living today because of their cultural context.

    3. Is it really a big secret that a lot of early presidents owned slaves?

      1. I’m literally just hearing about this now.

    4. A gem from the comments:

      “Add Ronald Reagan’s name to presidents who “Enslaved for Profit”. with his nearly tripling of the deficit; having nothing to do with the collapse of the former U.S.S.R.. Reagan was a pedophile rapist too, plying alcohol (contributing to the delinquency of minors) to aspiring, adolescent Hollywood actresses like Elizabeth Taylor and others when president of the Film Actors Guild.”

      1. Film Actors Guild.

        America Fuck Yeah!

      2. Reagan was a pedophile rapist too, plying alcohol (contributing to the delinquency of minors) to aspiring, adolescent Hollywood actresses like Elizabeth Taylor and others when president of the Film Actors Guild.”

        This is a Great American Comment.

        1. Being a pedophile rapist is only ok if your politics are properly progressive.

          1. After all, the superior genetic heritage must be passed on!

  14. “While professing to abhor slavery and hope for its eventual demise, as president Washington took no real steps in that direction and in fact did everything he could to ensure that not one of the more than 300 people he owned could secure their freedom.”

    From the right-wing whitewashers at PBS – George Washington’s will freeing his able-bodied slaves and providing for the care of the elderly and disabled ones:

    http://www.pbs.org/georgewashi….._read.html

    1. Yeah, I noticed that, although I suppose it’s accurate if you’re just talking about Washington’s lifetime. While freeing his slaves upon his death was obviously a much better thing to do than not freeing them at all, I wouldn’t give him too many brownie points for keeping them enslaved for decades and then only freeing them after he croaked and could no longer personally benefit from owning them.

      Not that that in any way discredits everything Washington did, or makes the article any more sensible. As I said above, I wasn’t aware that it was some big secret that early presidents like Washington owned slaves

      1. Washington could have done better, but first the author should have acknowledged what he actually did.

        1. Agreed.

    2. I believe Jefferson wanted to do the same, but his estate was bankrupt at his death so his slaves were sold off to pay his creditors.

    3. Well – he *could* have freed them at anytime before that, so still kinda a dick move but better than nothing.

      But what PBS seems to have forgotten about all the ‘not abolishing slavery’ Washington did – there was a serious fucking schism in the colonies that ignoring the slave question was intended to smooth over – for the greater good.

      You’d think lefties would understand the need to fuck one group of people over for the benefit of a larger group.

      1. “You’d think lefties would understand the need to fuck one group of people over for the benefit of a larger group.”

        We might forgive them for perhaps focusing on that third group being f*cked over in that deal.

        1. Just go ahead and type out the whole fucked, Bo. You’ll feel better, I promise.

    4. “George Washington’s will”

      So he did not do so while he was alive. I do not think the comment is contradicted then (though it could note that Washington did take admirable steps through his lifetime to be in a position to free his slaves posthumously).

      1. “did everything he could to ensure that not one of the more than 300 people he owned could secure their freedom”

        1. As Calidissident says, that could be read to mean ‘in his lifetime’ and it would be true-he even dispatched slavehunters after runaways.

          I think it would have been more fair to mention that he quite deliberately worked to do what, for example, Jefferson never did, free his slaves posthumously, but it is hardly an egregious falsehood.

    5. Well, as Lizzie Mae pointed out, Washington’s will only freed his slaves. Martha’s slaves were shit outta luck.

  15. Sorry for forcing you to read opinions outside the allowed scope of libertarian thought.

    Spake the martyr from his cross.

    1. You can see further from up there. And those with that sort of vision should be society’s leaders.

    1. The Revolutionary Truth is more important. Facts and evidence are Straight White Male Cis-privilege

    2. They should have installed that progressive talking point app on their smartphones.

    3. that’s so sad.

      We really need to find better-quality people to hate us.

      1. We deserve it, gosh darn it!

      2. Perhaps we should offer an internship position. So that the young can develop more experience hating people like us in a more professional environment.

  16. A circle is a special kind of ellipse

    A Tulpa is a special kind of obtuse.

  17. Reagan was a pedophile rapist too, plying alcohol (contributing to the delinquency of minors) to aspiring, adolescent Hollywood actresses like Elizabeth Taylor and others when president of the Film Actors Guild.”

    *Foghorn Leghorn voice*

    “Now, just a dahrn minnit, Boy!”

  18. Peter Schiff gets interviewed on the Daily Show; gets a quick course in lefty intellectual honesty-

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=El4CYr8dIkw

    1. You must be on the other side f the international date line – over here we got that days ago.

      1. Damn, late to the party again. Well, here’s an even older clip of Daily Show libertarian bashing:

        http://www.thedailyshow.com/wa…..banned-aid

  19. Man that jsut makes no sense at all to me dude. None!

    http://www.Anon-VPN.com

  20. I can’t believe no one has mentioned the Penn & Teller “Bullshit” episode where they showed that polygraphs can be easily beaten by giving fake signals by just clenching your anus

    1. My anus is the center hole.

      Click it. You’ll never hear that song as intended again.

      1. You’re stretching it.

        1. That’s what she s…never mind.

    2. I always reflexively clench my anus when dealing with the government so this should be no problem.

    3. Does farting in the direction of the examiner work, too?

      1. Only if his mother was a hamster.

  21. Now Microsoft is accusing me of stealing their software.

    I turned off that damned software ‘verification’ service and now I have a note overlaying the bottom right corner of my desktop saying that my version of Windows is not ‘Genuine”.

    1. Never had any ‘verification’ issues with OS X

      1. That’s nice. I, however, like a computer that you can do more than ‘graphic design’ with.

      2. Of course, it may be that you’ve never turned off your OS’ built-in bit of spyware before. I’d figure, given that its Apple, there’s a 50/50 chance that that function is written into the OS itself and you can’t even turn it off (and get called a thief).

  22. And apparently Jamaicans are leading the charge for ‘reparations’ again.

    Along with this mind-blistering demand –

    . . . and assurances slavery will never be repeated,

    Given that GB was one of those countries leading the abolitionist movement world-wide, gave up slavery in 1772 (and ruled that foreign slaves who made it to the UK were free-men under British law), I think GB isn’t going to be instituting slavery anytime soon. And has a good enough track record on the subject that you can take their word for it.

    1. Along with this mind-blistering demand –

      . . . and assurances slavery will never be repeated,

      You’ve read what the Federal government plans on doing to us if ever there were a large-scale disaster on U.S. soil that threatened the “continuity of government”, right?

      What’s the number of that executive order legalizing the military to impress civilians into work camps?

      1. Oh, I’m sorry. The military doesn’t have that power. They have to wait for the Secretary of Labor to say it’s ok before they do it.

        I feel so much better now.

        1. Its a good thing they’re talking about the British government then. Anyway, our government doesn’t even have a very good ‘official’ track record when it comes to slavery – so certainly it’d be justified to ask that in our case.

          1. If what HM describes could happen in the US, I don’t see why it couldn’t happen in the UK.

            “Anyway, our government doesn’t even have a very good ‘official’ track record when it comes to slavery”

            True, but Britain only does when you speaking relatively and/or ignore a couple hundred years of history prior to when they (admirably) took a stand against the slave trade and for abolitionism. And the only country whose New World colonies received more slaves than Britain’s was Portugal. Also, it’s at least worth consideration in the case of the US, that while it was abolished in the country as a whole late compared to the British or French Empires, or most of Latin America, the northern states were the first places in the New World to abolish slavery, and they did it 30-60 years before it was abolished in the British Empire (though slavery in the UK itself was abolished in 1772, it lasted in the colonies until 1833).

            Not that I think

            1. *Not that I think the British are planning on enslaving Africans or Afro-Caribbean people anytime soon.

          2. Its a good thing they’re talking about the British government then.

            The moral is states gotta state.

  23. I’m just going to assume Salon had this article already written because it just ignores the facts

    A middle-aged man who chooses to start a verbal altercation with four teenage boys in a convenience store parking lot on a Friday night knows that he is running a non-trivial risk of suffering great bodily harm, or in non-technical terms, getting his ass kicked.

    He was asking for an ass-kicking? But how is that different from:

    And because this is America, the fact that Dunn is white and the teenage boys are black ? black boys playing loud “thug” music, to use Dunn’s description ? makes it seem “reasonable” to him that the confrontation he started is about to escalate to a point where he will suffer great bodily harm.

    Dude, you just said he was asking to get his asked kicked by approaching the teens. Is proclivity to violence when people confront you a young adult thing or a black thing? Because you admitted as much.

    In sum, under the laws of the state of Florida, it was always going to be extremely difficult for the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Dunn wasn’t in reasonable fear of suffering great bodily harm.

    In sum, you’re an idiot that just wrote something blatantly untrue. Because the jury clearly rejected his self-defense claim but hung on the degree of murder.

    1. Paul Campos is a professor of law at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

      Give him a break. The man was obviously high as a kite when he wrote the article.

      1. Campos worked at the law firm Latham & Watkins in Chicago from 1989-1990 and became an Associate Professor at the University of Colorado in 1990, where he teaches classes on property, punishment theory, jurisprudence, and legal interpretation. Professor Campos is not admitted to the bar in the State of Colorado, Illinois, or Michigan.

        he criticizing other law school professors for not knowing enough doctrinal law or having much practical experience in legal practice.

        Those who can’t, teach. (Present company excluded HM.)

  24. Was Johnny Weir ‘too gay’ for TV?

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