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Comments

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Just how much lying is acceptable in support of "Higher Truth"?

pudge It's worse than that, it's physics, Jim (4 comments)

Gruber said in another comment in 2012 that the reason why you can't get subsidies for the federal exchange is so that states will be encouraged to make their own exchange.

about half an hour ago
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Funniest /. article in a while

pudge Re:I by no means missed the point (32 comments)

Only someone as arrogant as you would claim themselves as a source.

Only someone who doesn't understand language would assert that I am not a source. Everyone who uses language is a source of meaning of that language. That's how our language actually works.

We both know you're wrong

We both know you're lying, because I quoted other sources agreeing with me, and you pretend I didn't, just like you pretend I didn't reference Madison in regards to "democracy."

2 days ago
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Funniest /. article in a while

pudge Re:I by no means missed the point (32 comments)

Without a common source on the meaning of words, how do words have meanings at all? You can argue for a different source - and I have noticed that you have not yet done so ...

Actually, in fact, I did. I was very explicit. You just don't understand language, so you missed it. But because I am so generous, here it is again: common usage. That determines the meaning of all words. We can be prescriptive in a given context -- for example, "organic" has a specific legal definition when applied to food for sale -- but generally, we simply have to go with how words are commonly used. We use dictionaries to discover common usage if we don't know it, but not to prescribe it.

the dictionary is a generally agreed-upon source for the meanings of words

Not by anyone who understands language or dictionaries, no, it's not. Even Wikipedia says you are full of shit: "Large 20th-century dictionaries such as the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) and Webster's Third are descriptive, and attempt to describe the actual use of words. Most dictionaries of English now apply the descriptive method to a word's definition ... the meanings of words in English are primarily determined by usage."

You have not yet however demonstrated your interesting alternate use of the word "democracy" to be used by anyone other than yourself

You're a liar, of course: I referenced a very important person in the history of the word: James Madison himself. And it's not an "alternative," it's the original meaning. The original use of the word "democracy" was in reference to Athens, where all citizens collectively made all legislative decisions. You're just being completely idiotic, as usual.

I see that you didn't bother to present that definition.

I presumed you were capable of taking your URL and replacing "democracy" with "socialism". My bad.

you openly despise the dictionary

You're a liar. I simply use dictionaries properly, and criticize their improper usage. Using a dictionary to settle a discussion about the proper meaning of a word is obviously stupid, if you understand that dictionaries are descriptive, and therefore prone to error. Even without understanding how dictionaries work, the fact that we have many English dictionaries with sometimes conflicting definitions should clue you in to the fact that you can't use one dictionary to settle the discussion.

2 days ago
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Funniest /. article in a while

pudge Re:I by no means missed the point (32 comments)

It appears to be - again - you versus the dictionary.

Once again, you do not know how dictionaries work: they do not prescribe definitions, telling us what words must mean; they merely describe how words are commonly used. Dictionary authors are reporters, not dictators. And if we identify common usage that is not captured by the dictionary definition, that is proof that the dictionary is wrong or incomplete. Further, if we can identify common usage, we literally have no need for a dictionary at that point, because it would at best be redundant, and at worst mislead the less-educated among us who have been tricked into thinking that dictionaries are authoritative.

And too bad you didn't look at that same dictionary for "socialism," because under that entry, you see definitions that well-describe the Soviet and Chinese regimes of the 20th century that you say are not socialist. So by your own logic, you proved yourself wrong.

Do you ever tire of being a tool?

2 days ago
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Funniest /. article in a while

pudge Re:I by no means missed the point (32 comments)

Democracy is people voting for their leaders.

False. In fact, "democracy" means people making decisions collectively. As Publius wrote in Federalist 10, it's a society of people assembling and administering the government in person. For example, in Massachusetts, the residents, at a town meeting can pass any rules they wish for the town (subject to state and federal law, etc.). That's, arguably, actual democracy. But voting for your leaders is not. We call it "representative democracy," to highlight the fact that we're collectively voting for people to make decisions for us, but that's not a "type" of democracy, it's actually a different thing. We have small pieces of democracy -- town meetings, voter initiatives, and so on -- but not much of it.

You can make an argument for their being different degrees of democracy, but there are plenty of democracies in this world including the country you currently live in (unless you finally moved away from the USA).

Only in the exact same sense that there are different degrees of socialism, and there are plenty of socialist regimes in this world.

In other words your attempt to make an argument on "True Socialism" : "True Democracy" is completely without merit

It only seems that way to morons like you. Really.

For someone who likes to bitch incessantly about politics, your knowledge is sorely lacking.

Literally no one agrees with you on this, no matter their opinions of my beliefs. I don't even believe you believe this. I can tell you're trying to hurt my ego, but you'll have as much luck doing so by attacking my intelligence and knowledge as you would for calling me short or hairless.

2 days ago
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Funniest /. article in a while

pudge Re:I by no means missed the point (32 comments)

Every week you give another example of where you ignore some of His' teachings in favor of others.

As someone who takes the Gospel more seriously than pretty much anything else, I have to ask for specifics on where you think I'm off course.

Just as I cannot force you to read what I write, I cannot force you to read what you write, either.

Translation: "crap, you caught me in a lie again, so I'll just lie some more and pretend that I wrote it and you just ignored/missed it."

Of course, this is the same idiot who lied about Democracy being responsible for more deaths than Socialism, even though the essentially socialist regimes Soviets and Chinese in the 20th century killed many times more than all democracies put together. Right, right, they aren't True Socialists. Well, there's never been a True Democracy either -- thankfully -- so it's a dishonest claim no matter how you slice it.

Not that we're surprised.

2 days ago
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Why capitalism works

pudge Re:So what you're saying... (66 comments)

Not my "meme." I rarely, if ever, refer to it.

But, it's true. Capitalism relies on private control and a free, competitive market. Crony capitalism is government control and a resulting non-free market by explicitly decreasing competition.

I mean, sure, you can call it whatever you want to, but when I say "capitalism works" and someone says "crony capitalism is proof it doesn't," that's just stupid, because crony capitalism flatly violates some of the primary tenets of capitalism.

about a month ago
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Why capitalism works

pudge Re:So what you're saying... (66 comments)

It was a different fork of this thread.

So you admit you lied.

Crony capitalism ... can also happen when a purchased politician prevents regulations from occurring, to improve profitability.

False, but telling that you think such a stupid thing. To you, there's no difference between freedom, and not-freedom. It's just two different options, neither better than the other.

It is also noted that you have still failed to produce an example of a federal regulation that actually impedes profitability of health insurance companies.

a. I never saw you ask that. It might've been in the comment I replied to, and I didn't see it, because after your massive whopper about what you want people to think crony capitalism is, I stopped reading.

b. Why would I produce an example of something I never asserted? Once again: holy shit, you're retarded.

about a month ago
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Why capitalism works

pudge Re:Big "if" (66 comments)

For example, does state law say you cannot participate in GOP runoff if you participated in Dem primary?

I think that's the case McDaniel is making, and I haven't heard it refuted.

I haven't seen the case strongly made. If you have a link, I'd be obliged. Stories I saw all handwaved at it.

You don't seem to understand that in modern America, "having rules and enforcing them" == "voter suppression".

But they are Republicans. Voter suppression is expected. It's OK.

Check the mirror and see if you don't notice a big ol' raaaaacist in there, or something. :-)

Only because I see YOU STANDING BEHIND ME. What the fuck, man?!?

about a month ago
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Why capitalism works

pudge Re:Big "if" (66 comments)

You fucking asshole.

about a month ago
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Why capitalism works

pudge Re:Big "if" (66 comments)

Nice, except you said "altruism," which is an illusion. True, Cochran is not altruistic, but no one ever is.

This is the first I've heard of this. I want to know specifics. For example, does state law say you cannot participate in GOP runoff if you participated in Dem primary? And is that what happened? If so, then yes, Cochran should lose, but really, MS screwed up, because they should have disallowed those Dem primary voters from participating.

about a month ago
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Why capitalism works

pudge Re:So what you're saying... (66 comments)

Fuck everyone who wants to use government to push "fairness." "Fairness" isn't a real thing: nothing is inherently fair or unfair, except for someone violating your rights (unfair) or you exercising your rights (fair). There is no other objective concept of fairness. So when someone is pushing "fairness" through the government -- except in those limited senses of protecting individual rights -- they are really pushing their own private moral judgments on everyone else, taking away our freedoms even more.

about a month ago
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Why capitalism works

pudge Re:So what you're saying... (66 comments)

Except it's not a strawman

Except, it is.

As d_r reworded, the premise is that to stop greedy businessmen from getting too much power, you sick other greedy businessmen to them

Wow. You really think that damn_registrars, of all people in the world, claiming A means B, is actual evidence that A means B?

Seriously?

I was attacking the notion, as the OP quoted, "If you want to catch a thief, set a thief to catch him"

Yes, within a certain context, where government is not siding with the thiefs. You attacked that notion within the context where government is siding with the thiefs (or, at least, you were ignoring whether government was siding with the thiefs).

As I noted in another comment, crony capitalism is not capitalism. Your claim "The existence of crony capitalism is counterexample to the notion that capitalism will protect us" is idiotic, because either it is saying that crony capitalism is capitalism, or it is saying that smitty claimed capitalism will solve all our problems regardless of what government does. Obviously, neither of those is true.

I disagree with your disagreement. Using one's natural faculties to create wealth to further one's own interests is something even animals do.

False. You do not know what "wealth" is. Try harder.

Capitalism is simply a means to an end.

It's the only reasonable means to the end. In what other system would I be free to use my natural faculties to create wealth to further my own interests? Every other system we have works to prevent me from using my natural faculties, or at least significant restricts it, or else it takes my wealth after I've created it, or else it restricts what I can do with my wealth. Capitalism is the only means we've yet seen in humanity for doing this, except for, perhaps, anarchy, which is destructive in other ways.

Adam Smith: it is not from the kindness of bakers in which we get our bread.

You offer this quote as though it disagrees with me in some way. Why?

It's called throwing in additional points to stir discussion.

But, as I said, it was not merely a non sequitur, it was also meaningless. It said nothing. It made no point, and had no meaning.

I was addressing the notion virtue touched upon by the OP.

Yes, by dishonestly and meaninglessly claiming that virtue is only for churches, and not all other aspects of our lives.

about a month ago
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Why capitalism works

pudge Re:So what you're saying... (66 comments)

First of all, why would I read your comments in a different thread?

You're a liar. It was in this discussion thread.

Even more so, how does the reduction of regulation not increase crony capitalism?

Holy shit, you're retarded. Crony capitalism happens via regulation. That's what crony capitalism is.

about a month ago
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Why capitalism works

pudge Re:So what you're saying... (66 comments)

I'm sorry that you can't be bothered to look into the facts of the situation.

You're a liar.

You should start by paying attention to the congress people who are owned by insurance companies

You're a liar, in implying that this somehow argues against anything I wrote. If you had read my other comments, you may have been able to make yourself look a little less foolish, as I clearly wrote that insurance companies are a great example of crony capitalism.

How exactly can you claim that the insurance industry was willing to sit by idly and be driven to the bring by regulations ...

You're a liar. I never claimed that. You said the "situation[] [was] created not in response to excess regulation, but rather in response to the general absence of regulation." But no, in fact, the health insurance situation was created by excess regulation. Health insurers didn't "own Congress" like it does now in 1973 when Ted Kennedy and Richard Nixon started forcing us into HMOs, and they certainly didn't "own Congress" when it passed the Public Health Service Act in 1944.

There was never a time, in my lifetime and longer, that government didn't massively control the health insurance business. To say that there is some response to "general absence of regulation" is just lying.

Wait a minute. First of all, I thought you liked states being able to regulate commerce within their own borders?

... because you're stupid? I've never said anything like that. Ever. I said that if it is going to be regulated, the Constitution requires it be the states who do so, as opposed to the federal government. That doesn't mean I am in favor of states doing so.

Why are you suddenly against it and looking to allow the federal government to dictate it instead?

You're a liar. Nothing I said is in favor of federal government regulation of commerce.

In fact, you are one of many people who have bitched repeatedly about "federal regulation" on health care, without providing even a single example of a federal regulation that influenced anything before the giant handout to the insurance industry that was signed into law by President Obama in 2010.

I just gave example laws that do this. A specific regulation from those laws could include the federal employer mandates to provide insurance, a mandate which -- apart from being unconstitutional -- increases the cost of health insurance by reducing competition and portability, not to mention reduces job mobility etc.

This is indisputable, which is why you -- while expressing disagreement -- don't even pretend to try to provide an argument against it.

about a month ago
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Why capitalism works

pudge Re:So what you're saying... (66 comments)

What a surprise, you come in late to the discussion, insert your opinion, and provide no support for it other than claiming it to be equivalent to the word of god because you typed it out on your own keyboard.

To "come in late" and "insert your opinion" is a bad thing somehow? Oh no, this conversation started YESTERDAY, I better not participate! How stupid can you be?

As to providing no support, as usual, you're a liar. I provided the support to your actual argument (535 voting members per 100,000 people) in my very next sentence.

I was merely setting up an upper limit for his request.

You're lying. You were backing up your claim that the two things were "working against each other" by setting up an example -- that was not implied by what he said -- for it to, in your eyes, fail.

Interestingly enough, if you had waited a little longer before inserting your response, you may have been able to make yourself look a little less foolish.

Howso? That doesn't make me look foolish. It doesn't disagree with anything I wrote. Just because he did mean that, doesn't mean he said or implied that he meant that. He did neither. Please learn how to read.

Being as you have made a reputation for yourself of shouting out false assumptions about other peoples' beliefs

You're a liar. I never said or implied what his actual view was. I only pointed out the fact that he didn't imply it.

... and then refusing to admit to ever being wrong ...

You provided not a shred of evidence that he implied it, and then say you somehow demonstrated that I was wrong to say he didn't imply it. As usual, you're a liar.

about a month ago
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Why capitalism works

pudge Re:Big "if" (66 comments)

Indeed. As I mentioned above, in my view -- and this is where many libertarians are wrong, I think -- we need a strong legal framework protecting our rights from violations by others. You can mostly do this via contract law, of course, but one way or another, economic wrongdoers -- that is, people who commit fraud and otherwise violate the actual rights (as opposed to the imagined rights) of others -- need to be held accountable, and our legal system just sucks at doing that, in large part because it is slow and costly.

about a month ago
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Why capitalism works

pudge Re:Big "if" (66 comments)

And a balanced diet is Hostess Cupcakes with skim milk.

You're a disgusting and despicable person who is no better than Adolph Hitler or George Bush. Defaming Hostess treats by washing them down with barely milk-flavored water is treasonous.

about a month ago
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Why capitalism works

pudge Re:So what you're saying... (66 comments)

...crony capitalists...

Is there another kind?

Of course. The majority of us who are capitalists, but are not crony capitalists. Me. Probably you.

all software and hardware is regulated in one form or another through things like the Invention Secrecy Act

False. That's simply and clearly false. None of the software I've written -- that you know about -- is regulated by the federal government. I've used software libraries that are so regulated, of course. But none of my software is so regulated.

(And I presume you're not talking about copyright law, because that is a different thing, and I've written public domain software anyway, which would not be under those regulations.)

Open source is a bit player

Shrug. It's relied on in almost every business and government agency in the world that uses computers in some way.

open markets are the key to long term success

Capitalism includes open markets. In addition, it has the added benefit of civil rights, which open markets don't necessarily have.

Capitalism is great, but we are now seeing what inevitably happens as it matures.

False. We are seeing what inevitably happens when you have two additional factors: 1. government allows itself to be bought, and 2. people lie about the causes of the problems as being from "capitalism."

Problem 1 is easily solved, if we're willing: make the scope of government much smaller. A government that is not allowed to create ObamaCare will not be the target of health insurance companies looking for handouts, for example. Every single person who was in favor of ObamaCare, or the SCOTUS decision on ObamaCare, is a cheerleader for crony capitalism, because that is what the decision equates to: government can force us to buy any product it wants to, as long as they call it a tax, for the benefit of crony capitalists.

Of course, the left is always pushing crony capitalism. That's their main trade. Whether it's tax breaks for electric cars, taxes on alcohol ... Democrats do this literally all the time. It's why they exist in Congress. Republicans do it too -- in particular, tax breaks for large companies to locate here or there, subsidies for agriculture in important voting states, that sort of thing, which Democrats do too -- but Democrats do it all the time.

It will eventually close the market to all but its most exclusive club, as designed.

Then it wouldn't be capitalism, so your argument is self-refuting. Crony capitalism itself isn't actual capitalism, for that matter, because where government controls the markets, it's not capitalism, because capitalism is private control. Of course, this isn't black-and-white, but shades of grey: you could say that certain antitrust laws, laws about fraud, and so on can happily coexist with a capitalism system.

But a system, like health insurance today, where government explicitly restricts who can enter the market, mandates who must buy the products, sets up most of the rules for the market, mandates what services must and must not be provided within a certain low and high price point ... this is not capitalism, or anything seriously like it. It's anti-capitalistic.

about a month ago

Submissions

Journals

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Obama Lied About Benghazi

pudge pudge writes  |  about 9 months ago

Some people don't know that Obama lied. But it's obvious fact based on the evidence. In another discussion some apparent trolls were complaining about the claim, but I am uninterested in discussing it, but for those who are interested, the basic summary is this:

* The administration said, for weeks, that the video and the unrest around it was a cause of the attack on the embassy in Benghazi.

* They claimed that the evidence led them to say so.

* They have never provided any such evidence. Some of what they claimed happened -- such as protests existing at the embassy in Benghazi -- was false, and there was never any evidence it was true (maybe in the first hours, but not after the first days).

* There was much evidence, even in the first days, that the attack was preplanned, but it was ignored in favor of the nonexistent evidence of spontaneity.

* The documentary evidence shows that, from the beginning, they had evidence that it was preplanned, and the only "evidence" of spontaneity cited was that it happened soon after protests in Cairo.

Draw your own conclusions, but I do not believe that the President would say it was a spontaneous reaction to the video without some evidence of it, and he had none. He said it because he thought it was believable and wanted to win an election, and if it were preplanned then it is a failure of his administration.

If you want more, check out last week's 60 Minutes report by Lara Logan. Most of it has to do with showing that we a. knew the attack was coming and b. didn't take reasonable steps to prevent it.

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Porn King of Abbottabad (Ballad of Osama Bin Laden)

pudge pudge writes  |  more than 3 years ago

My new song, "Porn King of Abbottabad", is up.

Some asked me when I might follow up on my song "Osama Bin Laden, You Ruined My Birthday" (for which I won a coveted Schrammie award). Then, driving into work last week, hearing news about the porn cache Bin Laden had in his compound, it struck me that he probably used his terrorist information network to make some extra money on the side and became the number one provider of porn to the Greater Abbottabad region of Pakistan.

So there you go.

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UPDATED: Target Map

pudge pudge writes  |  more than 3 years ago

I fixed a problem with Firefox, and maybe other browsers, where the entire target was not clickable. Should be good now: just click the target, see the links.

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Target Map

pudge pudge writes  |  more than 3 years ago

I've started a map of targets. I won't bother saying what the point of this is, because no matter what I write, people will, intentionally or otherwise, misconstrue it. I hope the links on each name targeted gives you enough of a clue, if you are inclined toward reading and understanding.

If you have any submissions for the map, send me email to targetmap@pudge.net with the name of the individual or organization, and a link demonstrating why they should be on the map.

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Koster/Larsen Debate

pudge pudge writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Many people, including myself, were disappointed that the Koster campaign chose to not participate in the KCTS 9 debate last Thursday.* But the next day, the pair debated and TVW has the video online.

If most voters watch this debate it's hard to see how Larsen could be re-elected, for one simple reason: everything Larsen said was about increasing the size, scope, power, and influence of the federal government. For every problem, Larsen sees the federal government as the solution. Even when Larsen correctly identifies mistakes Bush and the Republicans made in the last decade, Larsen indicts himself and his fellow Democrats because they want to do the same things the Republicans did, except more and bigger. Koster wants to go in the other direction: forward to liberty and smaller government instead of the monster debt that the Democrats and Republicans gave us last decade.

* I personally disagree with the Koster campaign decision to not participate on Thursday. Their stated reason was that Herald reporter and columnist Jerry Cornfield was one of the panelists, and the Koster campaign deemed him unacceptable because he's on the left, and they didn't believe he'd be fair. My take is that Koster could have handled Cornfield just fine, and that there's far less-fair journalists out there that Koster will run into if he's elected, and that he should have done the debate ... especially since, as this debate shows, the more Koster can put himself out there, side-by-side to Larsen, the better he looks: and that's something no journalist can take away, no matter how unfair they are.

Cross-posted on <pudge/*>.

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Larsen and Koster on KCTS 9

pudge pudge writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Last night KCTS 9 had nice profiles on both John Koster (R) and Rick Larsen (D-inc.), the candidates for Washington's Second Congressional District (whom we collectively interviewed recently here on Sound Politics). The KCTS piece uncritically showed Larsen's dishonest ad falsely accusing Koster of wanting to privatize social security, and referred to an "anti-incumbent" wave that is generally understood to be anti-establishment, not anti-incumbent, but otherwise it was a pretty good piece.

The discussion afterward, however, was fairly awful. All of the pundits -- including former state GOP chair Chris Vance -- said the only thing Koster has going for him is the "wave" in favor of Republican candidates. Joni Balter said Koster is "rigid" and "inflexible," while Larsen has "been there" for his constituents (as if Koster hasn't been). Perhaps she missed the memo that most voters in the Second CD want government to "be there" for us by being a lot less "flexible" on government spending.

Next Thursday, October 21, at 7 p.m., KCTS 9 will host a debate between Larsen and Koster. Tune in!

Also check out this non-endorsement endorsement of Koster by the Seattle Times. They call Larsen out for his dishonesty, his lack of fiscal responsibility, and his desire to increase taxes. They praise Koster for his fiscal prudence, his experience, his responsible record, and says he would benefit Congress. But they say they don't endorse him because he agrees too much with his own constituents: he is anti-abortion, anti-gay marriage, and is (as every scientist and responsible politician is required by the rules of logic to be) skeptical of anthropogenic global warming.*

The Seattle Times says they endorse Larsen, but at the same time, they demonstrate that Koster would better represent his constituents. Draw your own conclusions.

* If you're a liberal, you're supposed to be skeptical of religion, skeptical of politicians, skeptical of authority and media of every kind, but not skeptical of anthropogenic global warming. Even the IPCC leaves open the door that AGW may not be true; how could any lay person think there's no room for that? To decry skepticism in the face of uncertainty is to be anti-intellectual, and it is incumbent upon every policymaker and scientist to remain open-minded on all such issues.

Cross-posted on <pudge/*>.

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What a socialist is

pudge pudge writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Anyone who defines what a socialist IS and states that therefore someone is NOT a socialist doesn't understand the word "socialist" or the English language very well.

The fact is, "socialist" has many meanings. In both French and English, for around 150 years, "socialist" has had a definition -- which has been very commonly used, even to today -- of, simply, massive social control by government for the purpose of taking from some people to give to others. As Bastiat said, for example:

Now, legal plunder can be committed in an infinite number of ways. Thus we have an infinite number of plans for organizing it: tariffs, protection, benefits, subsidies, encouragements, progressive taxation, public schools, guaranteed jobs, guaranteed profits, minimum wages, a right to relief, a right to the tools of labor, free credit, and so on, and so on. All these plans as a whole -- with their common aim of legal plunder -- constitute socialism.

Socialism does not just regard the ownership of the means of production. It's never only meant that, not in our lifetimes. Obama does favor controlling society through "an infinite number of ways" in order to take from some people to give to others. This is a perfectly reasonable, correct, and valid use of the word "socialism" ... and it's not a matter of "human dignity," but a matter of whether government should be the instrument of providing that "dignity." I contend that destroying liberty to give "dignity" to someone else is itself taking away the dignity of all.

Or, in other words of Bastiat:

Mr. de Lamartine once wrote to me thusly: "Your doctrine is only the half of my program. You have stopped at liberty; I go on to fraternity." I answered him: "The second half of your program will destroy the first."

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Murray Pretends There Is No Deficit

pudge pudge writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Several times in tonight's debate, Senator Patty Murray said that keeping taxes at their current level would make it impossible to fund critical federal programs. But the Democratic Congress, with Murray's votes, has shown no restraint in spending caused by a lack of revenue, racking up deficits of trillions of dollars.

On what planet does anyone believe that the Murray, or the Democratic Congress, is restrained by a lack of revenue?

Cross-posted on <pudge/*>.

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State Liquor Status Quo "Economically ... Doesn't Make Sense"

pudge pudge writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Am I the only one who noticed that in Robert Mak's piece on the liquor privatization initiatives on KING 5, a supporter of the status quo said that the status quo doesn't make economic sense?

John Guadnola, Executive Director of the Washington Beer and Wine Wholesalers Association -- which opposes both I-1100 and I-1105 -- said that if I-1100 passes, "[Safeway] won't have nearly the variety [as it has now] because economically, it just doesn't make sense for them."

But if it doesn't make economic sense for Safeway to have that variety, then why do we do it? If carrying a certain number of bottles in a local Safeway doesn't make economic sense, scaling up as we do now can't fix that problem. So Guadnola is basically admitting that -- in a time of severe recession, no less -- he and his group are backing a system that wastes money.

Of course, the truth is that wide variety will continue to exist. I've lived in several other states, all of which allowed retailers to buy with volume discounts and decide what they wanted to carry, and all of which had a wide variety of liquor widely available. We have one of the only states with this sort of a system, and all you have to do is look at the other states and see that almost every criticism of I-1100 is based on fantasy. The only true criticisms I've seen of I-1100 are that it would give us more access to the products we want to buy, which is, as best I can figure, a good thing.

(Oh, and I should also mention that the criticism that this takes money from schools is necessarily false. Any revenues lost by the schools -- if required to make "ample provision" for education -- must be made up by taking it from other programs, or increasing other taxes. Our Constitution requires it. For I-1100 to significantly hurt schools, our state government would have to violate the Constitution.)

Another truth is that the people most ardently defending the status quo, as well as the people behind I-1105, are no less influenced by their bottom lines than the backers of I-1100 ... and probably moreso. There are many people -- like me -- who don't consume liquor or are not in the liquor business, but value the freedom I-1100 provides.

But all of the people I've seen backing I-1105 or the status quo are in businesses that do, or would, profit from the government protection of their business interests, such as Guadnola's organization, whose members control about 95 percent of all beer and wine distribution in the state ... a virtual monopoly that is jeopardized by privatization. Of course, I have no problem with any of the companies represented by the WBWWA. They are probably all fine businesses doing fine work. I do have a problem with government being used to protect their interests, at the expense of the other interests of other companies and individuals.

My two cents? Vote Yes on I-1100, and No on I-1105 and other forms of government control.

Cross-posted on <pudge/*>.

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Candy Tax

pudge pudge writes  |  more than 3 years ago

In order to avoid the new Candy Tax in Washington State, I am carefully selecting what candies to buy for Halloween. Candy is legally defined as not having any flour, so I am buying up Twix, Kit Kat, Twizzlers, and -- my favorite of all -- Nestle Crunch. Mmmmmm.

The funny thing is that I've found that flour products actually make me gain weight more than products more heavily based on sugar. I don't think Michelle Obama would approve of Christine Gregoire encouraging me to gain weight. And certainly, no one sane would approve of the government encouragement to punish the makers of certain candies over others just because it lists "flour" on the ingredients. But I must comply! Christine knows best!

Do your part by helping me and Christine punish the makers of candy without flour: make your Halloween a no-flour-free zone!

Cross-posted on <pudge/*>.

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Koster vs. Larsen: Your Turn

pudge pudge writes  |  more than 3 years ago

The two campaigns for Washington's Second Congressional District, for incumbent Rick Larsen (D) and challenger John Koster (R), have agreed to answer questions posted by you, the readers and voters. This is going to be a close race, and perhaps one of the most-watched in the nation.

So here's how this works: you guys ask the questions, posting them in this Sound Politics discussion. I pick good ones and submit them to the candidates. They send their answers back to me, and I post them. I don't censor, edit, or modify their answers in any way (though as "interviewer," I may ask for clarifications, giving them a chance to revise their answers).

It's no secret that I want John Koster to win this election. But I'll do my best to pick good questions, and since everyone can see all the questions being asked by the commenters, everyone can decide for themselves if I did a reasonable job.

I'll close the questioning at the end of this week. Everyone -- from libertarian to liberal -- is welcome to submit questions here, but not to engage in discussions about the questions or candidates, or to be abusive. Ask questions: don't answer them or fight about them.

Have at it.

Cross-posted on <pudge/*>.

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Koster Winning, Berkey Losing

pudge pudge writes  |  more than 3 years ago

There are some surprising twists in our interminable Washington election.

Republican John Koster has come from behind to take the lead in the Second Congressional District race by 160 votes, and is likely to end up beating incumbent Rick Larsen. The good news for Larsen is that the total Democrat vote is over 50 percent; the good news for Koster is that independents who didn't vote in the primary will likely swing his way in the general.

Of course, Koster won the primary in 2000, too: but Larsen ended up winning the general. But it was an open seat in 2000, and that the incumbent might finish second in the primary is really bad for Larsen.

Similarly, incumbent Democratic Senator Jean Berkey (38th LD) is coming in third in her primary, and is likely to be eliminated from the general election ballot. At 32.24% of the vote, she's falling behing Conservative candidate Rod Rieger at 32.63%, and fellow Democratic candidate Nick Harper at 35.13%.

According to Jerry Cornfield at The Herald, she'd be the only incumbent for the state legislature to fail to get to the general election this year. More incumbents, like Sound Politics troll Geoff Simpson, are likely to lose in the general, though.

Cross-posted on <pudge/*>.

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Best Email of the Day

pudge pudge writes  |  more than 3 years ago

From the Democratic Party: "The only thing Boehner seems serious about is raising campaign cash. After the speech, he told reporters that he's prepared to help Republicans spend $50 million to win back Congress. ... Democrats have a different plan. We're asking supporters like you to make a contribution to the By the People Fund."

How dare Boehner say he's trying to raise money! We're different: we want to raise money!

Cross-posted on <pudge/*>.

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Larsen's Hypocrisy

pudge pudge writes  |  more than 3 years ago

As I mentioned yesterday, Rick Larsen criticized John Koster for saying good things about the Tea Party, even though Larsen himself has recently gone to a Tea Party candidate forum to try to get their votes.

And Larsen has twice criticized Koster over oil -- once saying Sarah Palin's endorsement of Koster would bring in money from oil companies, and then attacking Koster for wanting to drill more -- even though Larsen's the only candidate in the race to receive money from an oil company: BP.

And this morning I noticed that, despite attacking a display of flags from our nation's history that included the Confederate flag (which, last I checked, is part of our nation's history), Rick Larsen was at a presentation of those exact flags last summer. He's sitting next to the presenter, 38th LD candidate Hugh Fleet, in the fourth image in the slideshow.

Did Larsen tell the veterans in attendance of his disdain for showing the Confederate flag in a historical context? Probably not, just like he didn't tell the Tea Party members of his disdain for them, nor tell BP how much he hated oil companies when he took their money.

OK, actually, I am being too hard on Rick: he certainly, as a smart and rational person, does not hate Tea Party members or oil companies, nor does he have any problem with showing the Confederate flag in a historical context. He just dishonestly implies otherwise when it comes time to attacking his opponent.

Cross-posted on <pudge/*>.

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Larsen Puts His Desperation In Video Form

pudge pudge writes  |  more than 3 years ago

This video from WA-2 Democratic incumbent Rick Larsen is hilariously sad in its level of desperation and deception.

Larsen first implies, incredibly, that just because -- like hundreds of millions of Americans -- Republican challenger John Koster thinks favorably of the Tea Party movement, that therefore he is a racist whackjob.

I wonder if Rick Larsen told the people of the Tea Party events he attended that he thought they were all racist whackjobs. (Larsen right now has a link on his own web page to an article about the event he attended, where, apparently, Larsen didn't have the cajones to tell the attendees how he really felt about them. This reminds me of the time Larsen attacked Sarah Palin for using the word "target" in a political context, while linking to a Seattle Times article on his web site using the same language. You'd think he would be more careful about that sort of rookie mistake.)

Then Larsen -- who is the only candidate in the race who has received a campaign contribution from BP -- actually attacks Koster for doing what Obama did: saying we need more domestic oil drilling, shortly before the BP accident happened. It's a fair comment on Koster's views, but it's also something the head of his own party agreed with at the time, just a few months ago.

And then Larsen turns back to attacking the Tea Party as racist as a means to attack Koster, even going so far as to show a Confederate flag juxtaposed against "Koster's" parade entries: but that flag was one of many different flags that was part of a larger historical flags presentation, and in no way advocates that flag in particular. And despite what the video claimed, it wasn't even Koster's parade entry, it was the county GOP's.

The sad thing is that Larsen is ruining his own good name with his blatantly dishonest attacks. So many people have told me, "Rick Larsen's a good guy, I just disagree with his politics." Implying that Koster is racist just because a tiny minority of people in a nationwide movement are racist is the exact opposite of being a "good guy." It's being a damned liar.

But I guess Larsen has nothing else to say. He can't run on his own record of record debt and deficit; he can't attack Koster for things he has actually done or said in his long career; he can only attack Koster by dishonestly taking pictures out of context and implying he is guilty of crimes committed by people he's never met and has nothing to do with.

Cross-posted on <pudge/*>.

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Koster Releases First TV Ad

pudge pudge writes  |  more than 3 years ago

John Koster's first TV ad is up. It's mostly to introduce him to the voters who don't yet know him, especially up in the northern part of the Congressional District 2.

Cross-posted on <pudge/*>.

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New Idea for More Effective Government

pudge pudge writes  |  more than 3 years ago

I have a new idea for restructuring our federal government.

Ministers with the power to restrict government activity.

The Minister of Shut Up, for example, has the power to force anyone in government, including the President, to shut up. So when the President says, "My predecessor's failed policies are to blame for the recession," the Minister tells him to shut up. This will greatly increase the quality of our public discourse.

There's also a Minister of Liberty who has the power to overturn or restrict any government action that violates civil liberties, and a Minister of Financial Responsibility that can veto any spending that isn't covered by revenues.

Now, here's the important part: obviously, these positions are only as useful as the people who hold those positions. So if you appoint them, or elect them popularly, you have a big problem. Politicians would appoint people who would not restrict their actions, and the people would elect people who would allow the government to do what they want government to do. It gets us nowhere.

So we will have a popular vote, but the only people who get to vote are people who have a real interest in upholding the restrictions involved. So only people intolerant of bull get to vote on the Minister of Shut Up. Only civil libertarians could vote for Minister of Liberty. And only fiscal conservatives get to vote for Minister of Financial Responsibility.

You might wonder then, what about the liberals? What do they get to vote for? It's only fair that everyone should get to vote for some position, but it seems like at least two of those positions are tilted heavily to the right, and we don't want liberals to feel left out. So, we need a position for them to vote for that is involved in very actively pursuing large government, in taking care of everyone's needs, in fighting against liberty, and so on.

We already have one: President.

So liberals get to decide what government will do, independents get to tell people to shut up, libertarians get to restrict government from hurting our liberty, and conservatives get to say what we won't spend money on because it's too expensive. Everyone gets to vote for only one thing.

I have not decided yet how best to determine whether someone really is a civil libertarian or liberal or what-have-you. Maybe some sort of lie detector test, or maybe just force everyone to pick one position to vote for: they will vote for the position they care most about, which will be the one that is actuated to push their interests, whether it is making government do things, securing liberty, keeping fiscal sanity, or just telling everyone else to shut up.

I think it could work.

Cross-posted on <pudge/*>.

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Bellingham Herald's Taylor Falsely Says Bailout Claim Not "The Truth"

pudge pudge writes  |  about 4 years ago

Sam Taylor over at The Bellingham Herald quotes a John Koster press release titled "Larsen Votes to Create Permanent Bailout Culture."

Taylor says, "I've already blogged on here that the truth is far different, that the verbatim language of the measure sets up mechanisms for the institutions themselves to pay for any restructuring (not taxpayers). The New York Times also has a good, in-depth piece on how that restructuring works, too, over here."

But the problem is that -- as that very New York Times piece clearly points out -- "The bill will still allow the government to fashion ad hoc remedies in the case of a failing financial institution. ... [I]t appears there is enough wiggle room in the bill and elsewhere in the laws that the government will still be able to structure unique one-off solutions in any financial crisis." The taxpayers, according to the NYT article, very well may be on the hook: "Even if it is not money, backdoor federal assistance in one form or another may arguably still be provided to other parties to permit them to arrange a private deal."

Taylor ignores those facts and instead hyperfocuses on two things: the phrase in Koster's press release headline (which does not even appear in the text of the press release) that Rick Larsen voted "to create permanent bailout culture," and that the bill sets up a system so that the taxpayers won't foot the bill. As to the latter, the NYT piece addresses it sufficiently to make the point: "there are provisions that would still encourage government deal-making," and "while the bill forbids the use of taxpayer money to 'prevent the liquidation of any financial company,' there is always latitude in times of crisis to stretch the law as was done during the financial crisis." To argue that there won't be bailouts still happening just doesn't pass the smell, laugh, or fact test, and even his own link to the NYT says Taylor is wrong. Yes, going through restructuring in the bill might not result in taxpayer funding, but there's many other ways to provide "assistance."

As to the former, what Koster's press release actually said was the bill "will likely open the door for permanent taxpayer-funded bailouts for Wall Street." Far from being not "the truth" -- given the fact that even the NYT says that deal-making, wiggle room, ad hoc remedies, latitude, and backdoor assistance will still encouraged, allowed, and arguably still provided -- it's a perfectly reasonable belief to have. We know from history that "give an inch, take a mile" is the rule of the day in DC, as in most political circles. Believing that if they can bail out, they will bail out, is not remotely unreasonable.

If you believe bailouts are good, fine. But let's not pretend that -- like Obama said -- this bill prevents them from happening, or that it is somehow not "the truth" to believe that, under this bill, bailouts will be encouraged.

Cross-posted on <pudge/*>.

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Koster Slams Larsen Over Contributions From Rangel

pudge pudge writes  |  about 4 years ago

My candidate for Congress in WA-2, Republican John Koster, pointed out today that the infamously crooked Charlie Rangel has, according to OpenSecrets, contributed $24,000 to incumbent Democrat Rick Larsen. Larsen is tied for receiving the 15th most money, out of the entire Congress, from Rangel.

That can't be good for Larsen.

According to FEC reports, over the last decade Rangel's National Leadership PAC gave Larsen $17,000, and Rangel's candidate committee gave Larsen another $7,000.

Could be worse, though; he could've received $24,000 from Nancy Pelosi, too. Oh wait: he did (from her candidate committee and her "PAC to the Future").

I kid. I think tying Larsen to Pelosi is a. accurate, and b. will justifiably hurt him, but honestly, I don't care that she gave him money. That's how politics works. Same thing with Rangel: Larsen may not have known Rangel was corrupt. But he should do the right thing and, now knowing the money was in part the fruit of corruption, he should do something good with it.

Cross-posted on <pudge/*>.

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