We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Monday, May 23. 2016
How much of a workout is sex, really?
NYC subways: Victims of their own success
California's high speed rail delayed another 4 years
High-Speed Rail Is a Fast Train to Fiscal Ruin, in California and Elsewhere
Eating too LITTLE salt may INCREASE your risk of a heart attack or stroke
Making Sense of Transgenderism
Who Am I? Gender and Locker Rooms
"... his legacy is going to be mandating that pretend females will have
78 Representatives Ask Obama Admin How It Will Force Schools to Obey LGBT Bathroom Order
Dershowitz and Other Professors Decry ‘Pervasive and Severe Infringement’ of Student Rights
It’s Conservatives Who Need ‘Safe Places’ on Campus
The Joys of Mandatory Workplace Diversity Training, a Guided Tour
Fire breaks out at world’s largest solar power plant
The school board of Portland, Oregon, has passed a resolution banning any books that express any skepticism about climate change alarmism
Notwithstanding Keynesian Fantasies, Redistribution Does Not Stimulate Growth
Libertarian legal superstar Randy Barnett challenges conservative judicial orthodoxy.
Group ID'd as One of Ben Rhodes' "Force Multipliers" In Selling Iran
Elizabeth Warren Takes On the ‘Gig Economy’ - It’s one of the first serious attempts by Democrats to deal with the new part-time model for work.
"New model"? My electrician is gig economy. So is my doc. Lots of people work as much or as little as they wish.
Does Hillary Clinton Know How to Attack Donald Trump?
Why Hillary Clinton is sinking faster than the Titanic
Trump Spent Only $46 Million on Campaign So Far=> Clinton and Sanders Spent Over $150 Million Apiece
Begrudging WaPo poll
Donald Trump's map: The downside
It must be hard for Hillary to look at all the pictures of young women swooning over Bernie as though he were Bieber.
Donald Trump: ‘Crooked Hillary’ Wants to Take Your Guns–and Keep Her ‘Fully Armed’ Security
Votes for sale in the DR
In France, “Basic facts of economic science are completely dismissed”; French people view
"there is a growing feeling that Europe is not safe for those who dissent even a little from the received wisdom of the bureaucratic state, or dare to confront the Muslim taqiyya so prevalent there."
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The state of the Middle Class and the Pension plan debacle
I used to think that if we could just get on a decent growth path, it would solve or mitigate a lot of these problems. However, for some time now, the growth industries have not created long term stable jobs for the average Joe.
"New model"? My electrician is gig economy. So is my doc. Lots of people work as much or as little as they wish."
Well that is just great when it is voluntary.
Notwithstanding Keynesian Fantasies, Redistribution Does Not Stimulate Growth
When the economy is operating under capacity, and there is underutilization of liquid capital, then providing help to the poor and unemployed does stimulate growth in the short run.
When the poor and unemployed receive $25,000-$50,00 in annual benefits, and all have iPhones and big screen TVs?
BillH: When the poor and unemployed receive $25,000-$50,00 in annual benefits, and all have iPhones and big screen TVs?
It can still act as a stimulus to economic growth. If there is idle money and idle capacity, then borrowing and spending will put the idle money and idle capacity to work. (You might think that giving tax breaks to the rich would also stimulate the economy, but the rich will generally just squirrel the money away until the economy improves.)
An economic stimulus will not directly lead to long-term economic growth, but can help preserve the infrastructure necessary to long-term economic growth — or even build the new infrastructure necessary to long-term economic growth.
Can it really? Can you give us an example of that happening in the real world?
Texan99: Can it really? Can you give us an example of that happening in the real world?
The most cited example is the Great Depression. Growth was 8% per year during the New Deal, then GDP contracted when Roosevelt cut back on spending in an attempt to balance the budget, then growth resumed with the Great Stimulus of WWII. It contracted again when the U.S. demobilized, but long-term stimulus in the form of the G.I. Bill and other programs led to a period known as the Affluent Society.
I'm sure you're already aware of the variety of alternative interpretations of the events of that area.
"then providing help to the poor and unemployed does stimulate growth in the short run."
Doesn't have to be provided just to the poor and unemployed. Wishful thinking?
Otto Maddox: Doesn't have to be provided just to the poor and unemployed.
No, but that was the question raised. Putting the middle class to work also results in a short term stimulus.
As long as the money is spent in the economy, and there is both available capital and slack in the economy, it will lead to economic growth. For instance, tax cuts for the rich during an economic recession will lead to little additional spending. The rich can afford to wait until economic conditions are better.
On the other hand, if capital is already fully utilized, it will lead to rising interest rates instead, with lower investment; and if the economy is already at capacity, it will lead to inflation.
Liberals love science — unless it proves them wrong
That certainly isn't limited to liberals.
The left has long claimed that it has something of a monopoly on scientific expertise.
The left tends to look towards the future, so, as a group, tend to lean on science for inspiration.
even if the existence of global warming is “settled,” the policies for how to best respond to it aren’t. But in the political debates, activists say their climatological claims are irrefutable and so are their preferred remedies.
Acknowledging the facts of global warming does not mean proposed remedies are irrefutable. However, there are still strong currents within the political right which simply reject the findings of climate science based on their discomfort with having to grapple with the problem. Consequently, rational discussions of remedies are often fruitless.
If climate change is the threat they claim, I’d rather spend billions on geoengineering to fix it than trillions on impoverishing economic policies that at best slightly delay it.
Scientists have considered geoengineering solutions, but believe they are fraught with peril due to unintended consequences. The long term solution, one that is well within reach, is revamping the energy sector.
The left is in love with arguments couched in scientific terms, but is as likely as the right to reject scientific conclusions that disagree with ideology. The progressive left has been advocating increased state control of the economy and wealth distribution since the end of WW II. The arguments failed when couched as a moral imperative, so now the same remedy is the "scientific" answer to global climate change.
Similarly, global population reduction failed when it was a moral crusade, but now the "scientific" steps of banning GMO seeds, modern pesticides and herbicides, and anti-vaccination campaigns are being made to accomplish the same goals, all in the name of "science".
Another guy named Dan: The left is in love with arguments couched in scientific terms, but is as likely as the right to reject scientific conclusions that disagree with ideology.
That may be true. However, of late, it is conservatives who have the greater argument with scientific findings.
Another guy named Dan: The progressive left has been advocating increased state control of the economy and wealth distribution since the end of WW II. [/b]
And many on the right advocate increased state control of the social lives of individuals. But not everyone on the right.
Most on the left adhere more to a Keynesian-type of economics, which is a market-based approach.
Another guy named Dan: [i]Similarly, global population reduction failed when it was a moral crusade, but now the "scientific" steps of ...
access to birth control and family planning education, along with greater social and economic autonomy for women.
Zachriel - climate change isn't a matter of belief; it's a matter of fact. Climate has changed, is changing, and will change in the future. That's what climate does. Were it not for global warming, I'd be trying to type this from under several kilometres of ice.
At issue are three things: 1) is the current climate change mainly anthropogenic (as in "man-made"); 2) is CO2 the main culprit; and, 3) assuming 1 and 2 are correct (the default position of the global warmist industry), will drastically cutting man-made CO2 emissions do any good? Even the IPCC's current predictions indicate that drastically lowering CO2 emissions will have a minor effect on climate change. And CO2 is - after all - a plant food, besides having a minor role in greenhouse warming (H2O has a much greater role).
I've always believed in "walking gently this good earth", and our family has lived by that maxim. But I refuse to give in to the current climate hysteria which - when one examines the forces behind it - is more about wealth redistribution and one world government than actually doing anything about the climate.
Case in point:
Frances: Climate has changed, is changing, and will change in the future.
What will those climate scientists come up with next!
Frances: Were it not for global warming, I'd be trying to type this from under several kilometres of ice.
That's right. If not for the greenhouse effect, the Earth would be a frozen wasteland.
Frances: At issue are three things: 1) is the current climate change mainly anthropogenic (as in "man-made");
The science indicates that humans are having, and will continue to have, a significant impact on climate.
Frances: 2) is CO2 the main culprit;
CO2 and methane are the primary culprits.
Frances: and, 3) assuming 1 and 2 are correct (the default position of the global warmist industry), will drastically cutting man-made CO2 emissions do any good?
The science indicates that continued greenhouse gas emissions will be highly detrimental, so slowing the emissions of greenhouse gases will help avoid the worst-case scenarios.
Frances: Even the IPCC's current predictions indicate that drastically lowering CO2 emissions will have a minor effect on climate change.
That is simply incorrect.
Frances: And CO2 is - after all - a plant food, besides having a minor role in greenhouse warming (H2O has a much greater role).
CO2 represents about 20-25% of the greenhouse effect. H20 constitutes much of the rest. The problem is that CO2 emissions cause an increase in atmospheric water vapor, amplifying the associated warming.
Z: The left tends to look towards the future...
That's debatable. During the Progressive Era, progressives (another name for the left) looked toward eugenics to improve mankind. Leading up to the FDR administration, they looked to Stalin and collectivism. Leading up to WWII, many progressives thought Hitler was on the right track. In the '60s, many on the left lionized Castro, carried Mao's Little Red Book, and chanted support for Ho Chi Minh. Even now many on the left are fans of Che Guevara. More recently, many progressives fawned over Chavez as the future. Today, we have a large chunk of the left clamoring to elect a socialist. With the exception of eugenics, which I think we can agree is a particularly brutal form of social engineering, the ideas of all those people had been tried, not only without success, but at horrific human cost - a fact that was either insignificant or one of which they were willfully ignorant.
mudbug: During the Progressive Era, progressives (another name for the left) looked toward eugenics to improve mankind.
It wasn't only progressives, but many conservatives also supported eugenics. Their underlying reasons were different, but there was broad agreement on the means.
And no. Progressive is not another words for leftist.
mudbug: Leading up to the FDR administration, they looked to Stalin and collectivism.
Many on the left were collectivists, but again, that would be "looking towards the future", and certainly not the aristocratic past.
mudbug: Leading up to WWII, many progressives thought Hitler was on the right track.
Hitler found much more support on the political right than on the political left.
mudbug: In the '60s, many on the left lionized Castro, carried Mao's Little Red Book, and chanted support for Ho Chi Minh.
Again, not the past, but some imagined future. Communists intended to overthrow the hierarchical structures of feudalism and colonialism.
mudbug: Today, we have a large chunk of the left clamoring to elect a socialist.
Modern history is characterized by a trend towards greater equality since the Renaissance. Socialism is antithetical to the hierarchical past. Of course, not everyone on the political left is a socialist.
In modern day parlance, progressivism = leftism. Ask Hillary or Bernie who are arguing with each other over who is more or more genuinely progressive. Leftist thought espouses the power of the state (always to right wrongs, of which there is a never ending supply) which necessarily erodes the power of the individual whereas conservatives want to give the state less power and are generally more focused on the individual. The fact that there were Republicans who supported some of the aforementioned idiocy is immaterial as party ideals shift. I doubt JFK would even be considered for president today.
Collectivism was not a new idea in the beginning of the 20th Century and it was never successful yet leftists and progressives flocked to it and tried it again during the Depression with no success (again). Even after the ideological murder of millions by Mao and the exposure of the failure of socialism when the Soviet Union fell, leftists still cling to socialist/collectivist ideas. Many in the Democratic Party say they are not socialists, but it's interesting that the leading Democrat candidate for president and the chair of the DNC can't articulate the difference between mainstream Democratic thought and socialism. Regardless of what Communists intended to do, implementing their ideas inflicted more human carnage than any idea in history and still some on the left support Communists. That leads me to believe they are either stupid, hopelessly naive, or actually prefer the known result.
mudbug: In modern day parlance, progressivism = leftism.
Most politically active leftists are progressive, that is, they advocate for government to act (progressivism) on what they see as the problem of inequality (leftist).
mudbug: Leftist thought espouses the power of the state (always to right wrongs, of which there is a never ending supply) which necessarily erodes the power of the individual whereas conservatives want to give the state less power and are generally more focused on the individual.
That is incorrect. You are conflating "leftist thought" with left-wing politics. Many leftists are anti-statists (though currently have little political power), while many on the political right want to give the state more power over the individual (many of whom have significant political influence).
mudbug: Collectivism was not a new idea in the beginning of the 20th Century and it was never successful yet leftists and progressives flocked to it and tried it again during the Depression with no success (again).
What came out of the Great Depression and WWII were mixed systems, with social safety nets and robust markets.
You're going to have to help me with which leftists are anti-statists.
Before Roosevelt was elected, several future members of FDR's administration went to Russia to see how wonderful collectivism was. During FDR's administration, they implemented some of their collectivist plans which ended in failure, e.g. Casa Grande.
mudbug: You're going to have to help me with which leftists are anti-statists.
Noam Chomsky, for one.
mudbug: Before Roosevelt was elected, several future members of FDR's administration went to Russia to see how wonderful collectivism was.
Sure, but the Roosevelt Administration didn't end up with collectivism, but with a regulated market economy and a social safety net.
mudbug: During FDR's administration, they implemented some of their collectivist plans which ended in failure, e.g. Casa Grande.
FDR tried many different things, tossing those that didn't work, including Rexford Tugwell, the person in charge of founding so-called Greenbelt towns.
You're missing my point. Roosevelt tried collectivist projects patterned after what Stalin was doing in Russia. They didn't work, but people on the left are still enthralled with communistic/socialistic "solutions" even though they have never worked.
From my reading of Libertarian-socialism, it seems a lot like the worker's paradise extolled by Communists.
As Noam Chomsky put it, a consistent libertarian "must oppose private ownership of the means of production and wage slavery, which is a component of this system, as incompatible with the principle that labor must be freely undertaken and under the control of the producer."
So the workers own the means of production. That's not so different from Marx and in fact Marx figures importantly in the subject of Libertarian-socialism. Workers owning the means of production is possible now. There's nothing to stop workers from pooling their money and buying a factory or a business. From that I take it that lib-socialists want to enforce that situation since it is not naturally occurring - thus force of (the state?) would be required. Apparently there is a significant faction that believes that violence is required to achieve these goals. Violence is not freedom for the victim. In fact, should one or a group invest wisely (would investing be allowed?), it appears that the he or the group would be prohibited from owning and running a factory that employs workers. I see nothing libertarian about the state forcing a social or economic order on individuals. Supposedly, workers would flock to a Marxist paradise and thus no force would be required, but the reality is quite different. Libertarian-socialism doesn't seem very different.
mudbug: You're missing my point. Roosevelt tried collectivist projects patterned after what Stalin was doing in Russia. They didn't work, but people on the left are still enthralled with communistic/socialistic "solutions" even though they have never worked.
Some. Not most. That's why a mixed system evolved from the rubble of the Great Depression.
mudbug: From that I take it that lib-socialists want to enforce that situation since it is not naturally occurring
There's a wide variety of opinion among libertarians. Some think such a system can evolve. Others think it will take a collapse of the old order. In any case, the practicality of libertarianism was not the question that was raised, which was the claim that all leftists are statists.
Regarding what you call the right, there is no such thing in American politics. It's a European term used by socialists to describe how the U.S. has put classical liberal ideas of the Enlightenment into practice. Namely, what you call the right is simply the constitution. Left and right doesn't apply to the American Revolution.
Progressive ideology is not marxist. But progressive is, in a sense, another term for leftist. It's non-revolutionary socialism. The term refers to the incremental steps required to transform the rights of the individual into the rights of society. The early leaders of the progressive movement stated explicitly that our constitution was an outdated document and that man had evolved beyond individual rights. They had no desire for the upheaval created by revolution, thus they preferred progressive steps towards socialism. They're patient. It's taken a century to get here. This is why the English version of progressives, Fabian Socialists, use the tortoise and a wolf in sheep's clothing as their symbols.
I think you also confuse the argument of "democrat vs republican" with "progressive vs conservative." Many republicans are progressives. The movement was established by one and we put his face on a mountain to thank him for it. If that doesn't stink of national socialism (TR called it the New Nationalism), then I don't know what does.
Jack Walter: Regarding what you call the right, there is no such thing in American politics.
Only if you redefine the term.
Right-wing politics hold that some forms of social stratification or social inequality are inevitable, natural, normal, or desirable,typically defending this position on the basis of natural law, economics or tradition.
Jack Walter: It's a European term
The term is widely used in the U.S.
Boise Weekly: Idaho Primary: The Far-Right Wing of the Idaho GOP Has a Rough Night
The Dallas Morning News: Texas Republicans grappling with how far right is too far as they gather in Dallas
Boston Globe: Cruz, Carson, and the fight for the right
Jack Walter: I think you also confuse the argument of "democrat vs republican" with "progressive vs conservative."
You are certainly wrong on that.
Jack Walter: Many republicans are progressives.
Not any more. Progressivism is usually associated with egalitarianism, which means the political left. With the increased polarization of American politics, liberal Republicans are rare.
You say widely used. I say widely misused. Just as the term liberal is misused. Progressives are good at misusing words to the point that they lose their meaning. It's by design that we use the term "liberal" to describe progressives. Rightly used, a liberal is someone who upholds Enlightenment principles. In other words, a conservative.
The progressive movement was never about egalitarianism, at least in regard to natural rights. What you associate with the term is not the same as what the movement has openly stated it to be. The progressive movement is about the loss of individual rights in exchange for the rights of society. An example is the effort to replace Equal Justice with Social Justice. Equal rights protected by the law are replaced with distribution of property determined by men.
I'd much rather have a right to the pursuit of happiness, than an equal share within society. If you spread happiness thin enough we can all be miserable together.
Jack Walter: You say widely used. I say widely misused.
Words are defined by general usage. As we said, your argument depends on redefining words.
Jack Walter: It's by design that we use the term "liberal" to describe progressives. Rightly used, a liberal is someone who upholds Enlightenment principles. In other words, a conservative.
Liberals are those who balance liberty and equality. Progressives advocate the use of government to right wrongs, particularly with regards to inequality. A conservative is someone who adheres to traditional institutions and mores.
Jack Walter: The progressive movement was never about egalitarianism, at least in regard to natural rights. What you associate with the term is not the same as what the movement has openly stated it to be.
The contemporary common political conception of progressivism in the culture of the Western world emerged from the vast social changes brought about by industrialization in the Western world in the late 19th century, particularly out of the view that progress was being stifled by vast economic inequality between the rich and the poor; minimally regulated laissez-faire capitalism with out-of-control monopolistic corporations; and intense and often violent conflict between workers and capitalists, thus claiming that measures were needed to address these problems.
Hilarious: Hillary’s tweet bungles the concept of a Venn Diagram
Heh. The responses on Twitter have been quite comical.
Zachriel says the left tends to look to the future? Really? Then why is it the first response to any number of issues from the left, the oldest method known to man, control people? Control the process. Control the discussion. Control period. The ideas found in the founding of this country where new, and the left has been working to destroy America almost from the second it was founded. The left does all this through control of the government, using the courts, especially in the last 100 years, to get what they want. There is enough data supporting no link to man and climate catastrophe, but what do we get from the left? More control. Ban books that tell the other side. Persecute people who dare to speak out against any number of ideas from the left. Using every power derived from the federal government - list all of the regulatory agencies here (too numerous to even count). All of these agencies are antithetical to a free people, but the left supports them whole heartily. Yes, I know that a lot of these agencies where created by the damn Republicans that sold their political soul, to get along with the left. These are very old ideas. Each one of them. A free people left alone to decide such issues on their own, even if they don't get it right, is the new idea. New ideas have nothing to do with the left. Anything resembling liberty is the enemy of the left – old ideas. I don’t know who first said, the history of the world is tyranny, but it is so true. The left is all about tyranny.
B Hammer: Then why is it the first response to any number of issues from the left, the oldest method known to man, control people?
1. You are conflating means and ends.
2. Not everyone on the left is a statist.
3. There are plenty of statists on the political right.
Yes, of course, a lefty would argue that the means justifies the ends. We may have to kill millions of people, but in the end, our means are justified.
It is not news that statists' reside on the right. I raise my voice against them also. All are enemy's of liberty.
Name one lefty that is not a statist? And please don't insult my intelligence by naming your next door neighbor.
B Hammer: Yes, of course, a lefty would argue that the means justifies the ends.
We never suggested such a thing. Extremists, whether on the left or the right, believe that the ends justify the means.
B Hammer: Name one lefty that is not a statist?
Noam Chomsky is a libertarian socialist. Others include Hillel Steiner and Peter Vallentyne.
Libertarian socialist? A libertarian is one who believes in minimal government involvement in a person's life. A socialist is one who believes that the state should manage the means of production one way or another. I don't see how those two things intersect.
mudbug: Libertarian socialist? A libertarian is one who believes in minimal government involvement in a person's life. A socialist is one who believes that the state should manage the means of production one way or another
A socialist believes in social ownership, but not necessarily state ownership. Liberatarian socialism is characterized by decentralization of authority.
The Occupy Movement is one implementation of anarchism on the left, as exemplified in their hand signals for reaching collective decisions.
I grant you that there have been people in the past I might call leftist who were more anarchist or libertarian than statist. I can't think of any today, can you? It's not the direction of the any of the mainstream leftist movements. I agree that some rightists are statist: that's why libertarians are uneasy in the R party, but more so in the D party.
Pope Francis was chosen to appease and appeal to a growing Hispanic catholic majority. By itself that may not have been a bad decision but this man grew up in and was politically active in a country that was in a death struggle between a capitalist and socialist political philosophy. Pope Francis is the Bernie Sanders of the catholic church and believes that either by government edict or by force wealth should be confiscated and redistributed to the poor. His ideas and beliefs were formed in the communist/socialist pressure cooker of post WW II Argentina. His history as a priest is a little dirty/soiled by his beliefs. He was an affirmative action choice for pope and this decision blinded the catholic church to his strong negatives. Now they have buyers remorse and will have to pay the price for that mistake.
Votes for sale in the DR
You don’t think the same thing happens in the U.S.?
Right now in a handful of major cities in the swing states the Democrat operatives are working to steal the election. 45 of our 50 states will vote a majority for either the Republicans or the Democrats and that rarely changes. The presidential election is won by winning 3-5 swing states and within those swing states there are one or two counties where the state is won or lost. Typically this comes down to one or two large cities within that county.
Today and for the last year or more Democrats, labor unions, non-profits, ACORN and a handful of shadowy organizations are plotting and working to steal the elections in those cities. They register dead people and illegals, they control the vote count and poll monitors. On election day they round up dunks and homeless people and drive them to 3-6 different polling places and give them a little card with the name they will use to go in and vote. For this each drunk is payed about $50. I guarantee you that in Miami you could set up cameras outside all the precincts and see the same voters. Ditto for the large cities in Ohio. Our MSM could write the biggest story of the century if they followed this lead but they won’t because they are complicit in stealing elections.
The transgender articles focus on the logical inconsistencies between some pretty standard feminist and gay rights arguments and the gender-choice claims.
I don't think pointing out logical inconsistencies is going to influence anyone on those streets. After all, they believe that homosexuality is immutable and present at birth, but nothing else in the personality is.
CDC: Completely Dumb Critters. Is the HIV rate higher among blacks, asians, and latinos? This is because of Southerners (white people)? Homophobia causes HIV? CDC, you got some 'splainin' to do on your proof of that.
Truckers' pension fund, run by/for the Union, 60% short? How can that BE? We KNOW the union officials are pure as the driven snow. Ain't that right, Jimmy Hoffa?
re: "workers stunned":
I think that a $1000/month pension is pretty good. Especially since a lot of these guys start drawing while they're young enough to start a new career. If you start at 20 you hit that rule of 80 pretty young.
Did these guys not save anything to counter their pensions? Did they not ever pay off a mortgage before retiring? These union guys live fat their whole lives making more money than they're worth (by definition), and then they get worried because they can't add it up in the end.
I find it offensive that our government insures a privately funded pension.