This Open Thread is way better than all those other ones

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What douchebags do

Bird Dog's picture

They take $16,000 of campaign funds to buy jewelry from their granddaughters and give those trinkets to various persons as "holiday gifts". People who aren't douchebags would spend that money with personal funds.


"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

What level chicanery is at play?

brutusettu's picture

Did Reid give gifts to people that did zero work for his campaign?


Did he give gifts to donors?


Did he give gifts to people working on his campaign pro bono?

Probably nothing very serious


but it did show poor judgment,  especially for someone with his level of experience and professional staff to advise him. 


Candidates have quite a bit of freedom in how they spend their campaign donations,   and buying gifts to reward donors, participants, volunteers, etc is legal.


But they aren't allowed to straight out pocket the money or give it to their family.  Buying from his grandchildren raises the question of whether a fair price was paid or it was just way to evade the rule against pocketing the money.   That's especially hard to judge with something like jewelry where the value is subjective and varies over a large range among vendors.






More interesting to me, the "journalist" from the link above

brutusettu's picture

Jewelry pricing is hard, but the "journalist" at Ralston used a cool journalist backdoor to assert for all intents and purposes, sans any evidence that isn't pure speculation, that those items weren't at cost or fair market value.


" many will wonder why Reid needs to use campaign funds for holiday gifts to give to supporters and donors and why he enriched his granddaughter in so doing."


 Ralston's writers could at least have least "just ask questions" of whether Harry was a "########* for nearly fleecing his granddaughter out of jewelry at cost.


"some why Harry needs to buy jewelry at cost from his kin" 



What happens to campaign funds that aren't spent?



"many wonder why Harry didn't spend money this cycle, and instead used it to grease the donations gears for another possible re-election run"  If the "journalist" at Ralston can do it, I can journalist too.  




----note: I'm still under my own interpretation of campaign funding that if people are willing to donate to campaigns, probably nearly anything that can be tied into  re-election efforts is ok (bribes and such are still a no-no)

Bribes and such


So we go down the list....where to draw the line


1.  Person gives Reid $16K to vote for some legislation.

2.  Person gives Reid's granddaughter $16K so that Reid will vote for some legislation

3.  Person gives Reid's campaign $16K,  which Reid immediately transfers to his personal account,  so that Reid will vote for some legislation

4.  Person gives Reid's campaign $16K,  which Reid immediately transfers to his granddaughter,  so that Reid will vote for some legislation


All of the above would be bribery,  and in fact 2-4 are more serious because they are bribery PLUS money laundering.


Now of course we have no specific reason to tack on the "so that Reid will vote for some legislation",  and some jewelry changed hands in the opposite direction,  which one could claim cancels the $16K transfer.  So,  no crime.


But this is precisely why the FEC makes campaigns disclose not only income,  but also expenditures.  If nothing else Reid should have known this would look bad.  A sign of either senility,  or more likely,  a sense of privilege.

A modest immigration reform proposal

Bird Dog's picture

The U.S. should allow more visas, green cards, citizenship openings, etc., for all the Icelandic men who will leave their country because of this law.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009



Since both the far right and the far left go after this stuff,  one can conclude that being pro-pornography is the centrist position.   Moderation in all things...

And That Zombie Andrea Dworkin. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .is continuing her life's obsession from beyond the grave.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

The Party of Lincoln


shows its true colours:  the Stars and Bars of the Confederate States of America.

Time To Ship Harry Off To The Senile Pathological Liars' Home

M Scott Eiland's picture

Thanks for the psychotic assist to Republican fund-raising efforts, scumbag.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Standard Republican agitprop

HankP's picture

turned back against Republicans. Seeing as how Republicans publicized tremendous internal division at a time of international crisis(I'm so old I remember "politics stops at the water's edge"), they deserve anything anyone says about them.


I blame it all on the Internet

Currently reading

brutusettu's picture

The Coldest Winter, the post WWII GOP was full of members blaming Democrats for "losing China" while also fighting to have military spending even lower than that proposed by any other major party.



Reids comments were mild sauce in that kitchen, Reid is cooking with mild sauce, he needs to learn to cook with stuff hotter than haberno to stay out of the Liars Home, apparently?  Just asking questions.

Harry might be old but he knows how to fight fire with fire.


Nobody sane actually believes these accusations.  But did the GOP really think they'd get away with telling all those lies and not be treated likewise?  Did you think the Democrats won't now treat the Benghazi harum-scarum as an overture to a symphonic sh*tstorm?  Two may play at the game of Pathological Liars.  The advantage of well-told lies cannot be overstated.  They get around the world faster than the truth can get its shoes on in the morning.


Substitute Crimea for Benghazi and we have an oft-repeated lie told by the Republicans.  Andrea Tantaros over at Fox have even applied Benghazi Juice to the MH370 tragedy.  Really, Scott, what's good for the goose is good for the gander.  FUDmongering is not a sport for the faint of heart, but the FUDees, the oldsters addicted to their horrortainment, get a jolt of delicious fear with every such bit of calamitous rumour. 


Of course Harry Reid is a lying b*stard.  But I don't think this will help GOP fundraising any.  The GOP shot its wad on Benghazi.  What are they gonna do now?  Tell a bigger lie? 

"Tell a bigger lie?"


One's in the works, I'd wager.

Let's face facts here, Harry Reid is a prodigious liar.


The GOP will have to get up very early in the morning to beat him.  I'm sure they'll try, but nothing will ever beat Reid's atrocious lies about Mitt Romney.  Harry Reid is the king of the sh*tweasels, no doubt about it.

I don't mean to dispute your claim about Harry Reid


since it is more colorful than factual and Reid is of course a prodigious liar, standing out shamelessly among Democrats.


But he's really nothing compared to an average Republican, who easily lies 5x as often. That's just what happens when almost everything you say is designed to fool non-rich people into thinking they will benefit from ideas that only benefit rich people.


Lying is just one tool in Reid's toolbox. a guy like Paul Ryan has uttered an uninterrupted string of mendacious lies spanning more than a decade.

Look, I grew up in a Calvinist household.


They hold with the doctrine of Total Depravity, which isn't as bad as it sounds.  Since we're all sinners and equally inadequate to effect our own salvation, best to not make too much ruckus about the sins of others.  To say the Republicans lie more than the Democrats is just pantywaist nonsense. We really must stop saying The Other Guys Are Worse, even if they are.   I am the only Democrat I know who is willing to say, loudly and often, that Harry Reid is a horrible man and his lobbyist sons are following in the family business like so many dung beetles.  The lies he tells almost fill me with admiration:  Quel Courage!  What ballz! 

To Borrow A Line From A Long Departed Contributor Here

M Scott Eiland's picture

I really believe that you believe that.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).



You could give a smart conservative politician some benefit of the doubt in the 80s or 90s that their policies would lead to widespread prosperity, but not in the 2010s.

I watched Paul Ryan in the debates, he's plenty smart, he just had all bullsh#t product to sell. Every single idea was to give rich people more money and take away money from poorer people. Thats the only reason Joe the Biden came out on top.

Since then Ryan has blamed his election loss on "urban voters" who also apparently dont want jobs, in case there was any doubt about his mendacity.

'The Great Class War Demon' is what I call him and you cant produce any examples of him endorsing policies w/out mendaciously lying bc there arent any examples.

Speaking Of The Great Class War Demon. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .how are things going for Fidel Jr. Jr. in the glorious workers paradise of Venezuela?

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

That's entirely Maduro's fault


Which is why Venezuelans have turned against Maduro and his authoritarian government.


Oh wait ... protesters have been killed on both sides, the population doesn't solely blame Maduro, and he would win an election again in Venezuela today, probably b/c the opposition is a Paul Ryan figure who represents the aristocracy and cares little if the rest of the country is reduced to rubble. 


In this case, the Paul Ryan of Venezuela is also to blame for the recent unrest (he began trying to run Maduro out of the country after losing a close election). If you want Chavismo out, the opposition is probably going to have to run someone other than a class warrior for the rich.


In fairness, such a person has ran in the past, lost a close election during good economic times to Chavez (2006), and then was run out of the country just ahead of being arrested. I believe Rosales could've beat Maduro especially in the poor economic conditions of the past election, and that that would've been good for the country.


It probably would've been good if Rosales had beat Chavez in 2006, on the assumption that Rosales would've been strong enough to beat back Venezuela's Class Warrior Demons for the rich. There really are very few countries on the planet in 2014 where the political right isn't at least as big of a threat to the populace as the left.

DeLong argues the economy could've rebounded


and criticizes Krugman for claiming that a prolonged slump was inevitable given the housing bust.


DeLong's argument can be given with two graphs:

Next you'll be arguing that Republicans deliberately


sabotaged the recovery in order to a) harm the administration and b) chisel away at entitlements.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

It is rather striking

HankP's picture

that Republicans only re-discover fiscal rectitude when Democrats are Presidents. It's been that way my entire adult life.


I blame it all on the Internet

It seems the Kangaroo is,


contrary to all we have been told by biologists, a happy native of The Arab Republic of Egypt.


A court has, after sitting 2 days in session, sentenced 529 people to death. Less than a quater were present at the "trial".


This was in relation to the violent crackdown on mostly peaceful protest that killed nearly 1000 Morsi supporters and comes after 45 prisoners were locked for 6 hours in a police van in the Egyptian sun and then, bar 8, gassed to death.


Some 16000 Morsi supporters have been imprisoned.


The violence of the military crackdown in Egypt is staggering and the silence of the West, the hand-wringers of Maidan, is telling.

Truly shocking. I was watching this on BBC World

mmghosh's picture

and it was just casually mentioned on the sliding bar.

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

The West has not been entirely silent


I've been watching this since early this morning.  US State Dept has issued a statement. 

We are deeply concerned – and I would say actually pretty shocked – by the sentencing to death of 529 Egyptians related to the death of one policeman, as well as the spate of violence against police stations and security personnel in the aftermath of the clearing of two squares in mid-August. It’s our understanding that over half of those convictions were in absentia. Obviously the defendants can appeal, but it simply does not seem possible that a fair review of evidence and testimony, consistent with international standards, could be accomplished with over 529 defendants in a two-day trial. It sort of defies logic.


So we have continued to call on the Egyptian Government to ensure that those detained are afforded fair proceedings that respect civil liberties, and as – that we’ve said many, many, many times, that the appearance of politically motivated arrests, detentions, and convictions will just continue to move Egypt’s democratic transition backwards and not forwards like we hope it does.

The situation in Egypt, even by Mubarak standards, is untenable and without precedent.  This probably isn't al-Sisi's doing.  It's the judiciary, which was mortally offended by the likes of Morsi and his Ikhwan buddies, the Muslim Brotherhood.  The judges are out for blood.


"deeply concerned"


"actually pretty shocked" "defendants can appeal" " does not seem possible" 


"It sort-of defies logic"


"we continue to call"


"we've said many many many times"


"we hope"


Praising them with faint damns?


I think the whole deep state is out for blood from Sisi on down. The masacres on teh streets and the execution of preisoners in that bus never went through the hands of the judges. I am quite sure that KSA, Israel and the USA are also full-square behind this.

Well it's considerably more than silence.


From what I've been reading about the sentences, this may be a gigantic bluff from the prosecutors.  Two levels of appeal yet remain.  All these sentences must go before the Grand Mufti of Egypt, Imam Allam.  Now Allam is a Sufi, about as moderate as you can expect in this situation.  I suspect he's going to rebuff many of these efforts to execute these rioters, who it must be said, really did hand out a tremendous beating to the police, murdering two of them. 


You see, this is the first real test of the new Constitution's appeals process.   If Imam Allam comes back and denies these executions, it will buy tremendous goodwill among the Ikhwan, the Muslim Brotherhood.  It will expose the Islamic backstop to the new forms of jurisprudence. 


But this is all conjecture on my part, second-hand conjecture at that.  If these executions proceed, Egypt will descend into hell.   But it's a good bet because the last thing the al-Azhar needs just now is to be seen as al-Sisi's stooges.  They now occupy a privileged position, constitutionally.  al-Sisi cannot be seen to be running the appeals process or he will go the way of Mubarak and Morsi, especially Morsi, who thought he could control the Islamists.  The Egyptian military wants stability above all things and they clearly do not want another fifty years of running battles with the Ikhwan.

It reads like a carte blanche to me.


A bit of well qualified tut tuting for public consumption. Lest it be Said that Nothing Was Done.


The fact remains that the Egyptian military is propped up with ca$h from Uncle Sam. There are great strategic reasons to do that, but those billions have to buy the state department some leverage. Either they don't care or they actively approve. 


I too expect some sort of clemency from the appeals process. Perhaps Sisi himself will step in a-la-Ghadafi forgiving his religious extremists and releasing them.  The great leader, magnanimous in victory.

Islam is terribly scrupulous, if horridly antique


in how it deals with murder.  Executing over 500 people for the murders of two police officers is so grossly disproportionate I'm inclined to go for your last paragraph.  It will probably be phrased as un-Islamic, which it is, but it will get the Egyptian military off the hook for its excesses as well.  If there's any noblesse oblige to emerge from all this, it will be dispensed by al-Azhar


As for propping up the Egyptian military, there are two sides to that business.  First, it's a good investment in buying peace.  Second, the Egyptians buy American military goods and services with that money.  Egypt's military is the last civil institution with any vestige of respect left in that nation.  Here's the quandary:  al-Sisi needs gravitas, which he only has by virtue of keeping the nation stable.  He knows better than to turn into another Mubarak.  Not even the military will stand for it, much less the Islamists. 



instead of being remembered for murdering 1000 on the street they'll be remembered for saving 500 from the gallows.


I really do wonder what Mubarak's great sin was to haev lost the support of his military colleagues. Was it his attempt to cement the whole thing as a family business by installing his son? Or did the grip on power really slip for a moment?

Mubarak, like many old people, got stupid in the interval.


He was just too damned old and brittle to cope with the Arab Spring.  He'd never been a particularly good administrator and that's a skill every competent autocrat needs.  If he doesn't have it, he can surround himself with competent administrators but Mubarak didn't.  The country limped along from crisis to crisis.  Pharaoh Mubarak's enemies, the Muslim Brotherhood, had grown old and brittle with him: though the Muslim Brotherhood had and still has a majority in Egypt, they, like Mubarak, proved incapable of ruling a modern nation.   Thus things fell back upon the Egyptian military, semper eadem.


If Mubarak had radiated the first watt of common sense, he would have called a constitutional convention, retired to some Senior Advisor position and become an eminence grise.  Egypt could have coped.  It's got plenty of good thinkers.  The elderly could have advised the young, the whole situation needed at least five years of a transitional government.  The hastily-drafted Constitution was a botch.  The rest you know. 


Egypt has been set back a full century.

By Obama administration standards, Christie cleared

Bird Dog's picture

The Christie administration investigated itself and found no wrongdoing by the governor. Looks like the flacks at MSNBC will have something to talk about this week.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

By Bush administration standards, Christie an American Hero nt

HankP's picture


I blame it all on the Internet

This fine investigation will cost NJ taxpayers 1M dollars.


Yup, no problem with this approach a-tall.  Couldn't happen to a nicer guy.  How did Jethro Tull put it?


Don't want to be a fat man,
People would think that I was
Just good fun.
Would rather be a thin man,
I am so glad to go on being one.
Too much to carry around with you

Energy sources: Natural gas, coal, solar, wind, nuclear and...

Bird Dog's picture

...aborted unborn children and stillborn!

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

still broken


Also: "see if you can spot the sucker." -nt-



"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Russia be gettin CHUMPED!



Using Vodka As A Condiment Will Do That To You

M Scott Eiland's picture

On the bright side, it saves money on cremation when the sad day comes--any spark near the corpse will do the deed. ]:-)

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

You obviously know nothing of Russia

HankP's picture

Vodka is not a condiment, it's the base of their food pyramid and a key component of every healthy Russian meal.


I blame it all on the Internet

I Stand Corrected

M Scott Eiland's picture

Though I'd say it's less of a pyramid than an obelisk (with the pointy part being "beets").

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

In fairness to the Russians

HankP's picture

they're not even in the same league as the Czech Republic and Ireland.


I blame it all on the Internet

Never seen anything like the Czech Republic


Not even in ireland.

The pubs are full of tables of guys with slips of paper containing hash marks for each beer theyve ordered. I routinely saw potbellied dudes at their local joint on an average day, hanging out by slips with 30 - 40 hash marks.

I know a Czech guy

HankP's picture

and when I brought it up, he said he couldn't keep up when he was home. He can drink most people under the table, at home he's a lightweight.


I blame it all on the Internet

I couldn't keep up at lunch


You can Czech out any time you like.... -nt-



"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Regarding Beer, You Are Correct

M Scott Eiland's picture

Russia trounces them both in consumption of hard liquor, though they are outpaced by five other nations in that category.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

I was looking at this

HankP's picture

from WHO, but there are plenty of different results on the internet. I think it's safe to say that countries that keep showing up at the top of different lists are, um, more dedicated to the enjoyment of alcohol than others.


I blame it all on the Internet

That chart from WHO

Jay C's picture

doesn't seem to vary much in concept from the Wikipedia table Scott linked to at # 135454: it's probably a bit more accurate as their figures are, apparently, calculated as a twenty-year average vs. Wiki's 2005(?) or 2009(?) reporting numbers.  


I didn't find it odd that Belarus topped the list as "worlds-booziest-country"; but I was surprised to find Andorra as the #2. Despite a population of only 85,000 they do get a huge tourist trade: maybe that skews their figures: though why one would shlep up to middle of nowhere in the Pyrenees just to get tanked is a mystery I'd need a few more drinks to figure out...

It's a low-end ski destination.


Think Ibiza in the sun. Spring break in January. The Marines in Tiajuana.


It's also a duty free province so perhaps there's a lot of export for personal consumption m'lud.

Andorra is the EU's version of the Indian Smoke Shop.


Most of Europe's smuggled cigarettes come out of Andorra.

Also... India? How is India #1 for total alcohol


consumption, despite tens of millions of religious teetotalers?


The Total column is most interesting (since WHO measured all quantities in equivalent liters of pure ethyl alcohol). Czech Republic is #2 after India. *France* comes in ahead of Russia, due to all that table wine, and most of the top drinker nations are former Soviet satellites or Balkan states. 

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Those figures for India seem anomalous

Jay C's picture

Looking at Wikipedia's chart, India, though leading the list, is the only "big-drinking" country where the "unrecorded" consumption is larger than the "recorded" - and it looks like the breakdowns have been allocated to fit the total figure. I'd be curious about their actual methodology, since they say:


Unrecorded consumption was calculated using empirical investigations and expert judgments.

I'm just wondering if those "expert judgments" don't get swayed according to the alcohol content of some of their "empirical" test-beverages.....?



"Errrrrybody's doin' it" sounds like something a drinking


expert might say. The "We're streaking" scene from Old School demonstrates this phenomenon perfectly.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

We have "dry" states too, with Prohibition

mmghosh's picture

- the alcohol consumption is naturally highest there.  There are all kinds of local brews - Blaise mentions palm toddy, there is also a cashewnut brew and coconut brew


<iframe width="420" height="315" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>


We discussed some of the world's best whiskies here in the past.  The red wine isn't bad either.  The beer is not great, but we get Tuborg now, so that's progress.


There used to be a large wine industry here and in Persia in medieval times when Islam was more civilised.

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

Tens of millions out of a billion -nt



Can't speak for all of India but Kerala runs on toddy


and arrack.  I'm not sure which way it goes, linguistically, but local hooch is everywhere.

Soju! -nt-



"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

I see a potential wrinkle in some of these numbers.


While it's true, the USA spends far too much for far too little - bear with me here - some of these countries, I'm thinking particularly of Finland, which I know a bit about, they sort out health care and elder care on different budgets.  If they get better results for a quarter of the price, I think our Medicare lumps in nursing home care / elder care, which would bring up the USA price tag.   Here in Wisconsin, there's a program which keeps older people in their homes, transporting them to their medical appointments.  It's ultimately funded out of Medicare.  Great value for money.  Stacking oldsters up in nursing homes is a prodigious waste of money and a serious blow to quality of life.

A brilliant backgrounder on Telangana, India's newest state


Over here:


By acquiescing in the formation of a new state called Telangana, India has succumbed to the greatest political fraud in its modern history. Andhra Pradesh, stretching from central to peninsular India, is larger than New Zealand. The Telugu-speaking Indians who predominate the state, numbering roughly 80 million, are more numerous than the French or the British. (Satya Nadella, the new CEO of Microsoft, is a Telugu, as is Nina Davuluri, the reigning Miss USA.) The Telugus’ contribution to recent Indian history has been both constructive and corrosive. If the flag of independent India was the product of a Telugu patriot’s inclusive imagination, the map of contemporary India is the consequence of the Telugus’ insularity. It was the Telugus’ agitation in the 1950s for cultural and linguistic homogeneity that prompted the restructuring of Indian territory into linguistic states. Andhra Pradesh was born on November 1, 1956, as free India’s first state.


To its proponents Andhra was the meridian, after 600 years of division and dispersal, of Telugu civilization. It was the largest state in peninsular India, returned the second-largest contingent of MPs to the Indian parliament, housed the third-largest linguistic bloc in the country, and was the geographic intersection that bridged north and south. But the moment could not be sustained. Less than 60 years after its historic creation, Andhra is poised to be partitioned once again. The irony is that the Telugus, having precipitated the reorganization of India by invoking language as a legitimate instrument of political mobilization, will now become the only major linguistic minority within India to be divided by boundaries.

The historical background is excellent, but the modern

mmghosh's picture

discussion is bogus.  The division of the Andhras is political, and irredentist and illogical, no doubt.  But there is no divinely ordained law that a single language speaking State must exist.  This is especially bogus

If Telugus can’t live with Telugus, why, someone is bound to ask, should the Kannadigas be asked to live with the Assamese? And having pandered to Telugus who won’t tolerate Telugus, can India then ask the Marathis to tolerate the Mizos, or the Kashmiris to tolerate the Biharis?

Both the Punjab and Bengal have been partitioned now for generations.  What, indeed, of the USA and Canada - or Latin America?  Should they be one nation simply because they speak dialects of the same language?  This view leads straight to the annexation of the Crimea.  Eine Volk, Eine Reich?  No, thank you, although I do not support the breakup of Andhra either.


Also, this

Yet a tiny rabble of semi-literate politicians was able to make these people so homicidally conscious of their differences that only permanent political division appeared to them as a reliable guarantor of equitable representation.

Talk of "rabble", "politicians" sounds IT techie-ese.

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

Punjab and Bengal are the sorry cases in point


for why such illogical divisions are so utterly wrongheaded.  The USA and Canada have our differences (the Canadians are the sane ones) and Canada itself is riven with ethnic/linguistic divisions.  Likewise Mexico has its ethnic and linguistic divisions:  the south of Mexico speaks Spanish as a second language and has far worse ethnic, linguistic and political problems. 


Kranti Rai is an alias.  I'm not sophisticated enough to determine for whom or for which cause Kranti Rai is carrying water.  Can you confirm the following suspicion/conclusion from the article?


But what is being heralded by its champions as a deliverance from discrimination is, in reality, a fresh monument to petty chauvinism. A crack in the rationale that underpins the unity of India, the proposal to partition Andhra was sanctified and railroaded through parliament by the doomed Gandhi dynasty seeking desperately to avert its approaching extinction. 


Seen from afar, the division of Andhra is madness.  It's Balkanisation of the worst sort, the amplification of petty differences, the squabbling of vultures.

But Balkanisation is always madness, to a greater or lesser

mmghosh's picture

extent.  Living in one, I'm quite comfortable with Empire, provided the Imperial ideal is a comity of peoples rather than individualist self determination.  That might be because I profit from it, but compare Habsburg to Svoboda.

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

A Robert Hayden poem comes to mind, American Journal


one of the strangest poems ever written.  


something they call the american dream sure we still believe in it i guess an earth man in the tavern said irregardless of the some times night mare facts we always try to double talk our way around and its okay the dreams okay and means whats good could be a damn sight better means every body in the good old u s a should have the chance to get ahead or at least should have three squares a day as for myself i do okay not crying hunger with a loaf of bread tucked under my arm you understand i fear one does not clearly follow i replied notice you got a funny accent pal like where you from he asked far from here i mumbled he stared hard i left must be more careful item learn to use okay their pass word okay - See more at:

something they call the american dream     sure
we still believe in it i guess     an earth man
in the tavern said     irregardless of the some
times night mare facts we always try to double
talk our way around     and its okay the dreams
okay and means whats good could be a damn sight
better      means every body in the good old u s a
should have the chance to get ahead or at least
should have three squares a day     as for myself
i do okay not crying hunger with a loaf of
bread tucked under my arm you understand     i
fear one does not clearly follow i replied
notice you got a funny accent pal     like where
you from he asked     far from here i mumbled
he stared hard     i left


must be more careful     item     learn to use okay
their pass word     okay

Conservative humor

HankP's picture

and I have to admit, parts of this are hilarious if unintentionally so.


Conservatives talking about cool is like kindergartners talking about sex. They've heard it exists but aren't really sure what it is.


The Hipster War on You: How Liberals use Cool as a Weapon


Oh, this is gonna be good


Why are good things seen as bad, and why are bad things seen as good?


Interesting question, but I don't think we'll be getting an answer...


Greg Gutfeld poses the question and supplies an answer in “Not Cool: The Hipster Elite and Their War On You” (Crown Forum).


Oh, a press release tarted up as an article


Gutfeld paints a picture of a coolocracy in which the world is run by star-bellied Sneetches who tell us what’s hip and we obediently keep running in and out of the belly-star-making gizmo.


... and I'm lost. I guess I'm not cool because I have no idea what those words in that order actually mean. Could one of you younger guys tell me what this means?


Icons of cool like Robert Redford, Mark Zuckerberg, Jesse James and Yoko Ono get shredded in the book, which is as breezy, enlightening and funny as Gutfeld’s two TV shows, “The Five” and “Red Eye.”


Now this is hilarious. Redford hasn't been cool since the mid 70s, Mark Zuckerberg is pretty much the definition of anti-cool, Yoko Ono hasn't been anywhere near cool since the late 60s and once again, could one of you younger guys explain why Jesse James is in this list?


Gutfeld finds that cool warps everything. In 2012, for instance, Zuckerberg’s Facebook not only didn’t pay any net federal income tax but was actually due a refund of about $430 million. Why? Because the company (lawfully) deducted the stock options it issues to Facebook employees, many of them now deliriously wealthy because of those options. If Exxon or Koch Industries had managed that, someone might have noticed.


Pretty sure none of those people or organizations are cool. Neither are tax loopholes.


But because it was Facebook — a company that oozes cool out its pores — it was a one-day story that people forgot about. “If this company were something that actually made something in a factory or a field,” writes Gutfeld, “it would be roundly condemned by every single media hack on the planet.”


Once again, Facebook is not cool.


Never mind that companies like Exxon and Koch supply the energy without which Facebook wouldn’t work: They’re not cool.


Yes, they are not cool. Score one for Gutfeld.


Hipster iconoclasm dates back at least to the 1950s (James Dean, Marlon Brando), but cool remained outside the establishment until the Woodstock Generation began to take over. It imposed warped values — artfully cultivated rebellion, counterproductive liberal “social consciousness,” romantic outlaw status for murderous enemies of America (the Weather Underground, Mumia Abu-Jamal, the Boston Marathon bombers) — on the mainstream. Today Flower Power types run the media, the networks, the Hollywood studios, even the Justice Department.


James Dean and Marlon Brando were outside the establishment? Oscar winning actors James Dean and Marlon Brando? I'm not sure he knows what "establishment" means. Also, neat trick of the hippies to know about the Boston Marathon bombers 50 years before the fact. I will admit that I laughed out loud to hear "the media, the networks, the Hollywood studios, even the Justice Department" linked with Flower Power. Yes, Eric Holder burns incense in his office and greets visitors wearing a dashiki. If you want a good laugh, google "comcast ceo", "bertelsmann ceo", "liberty media ceo" etc. to see what Flower Power looks like today.


But ask someone in their 80s and 90s what’s cool, Gutfeld figures, and they’d probably say something like, “Killing Nazis.”


OK, this was obviously cut and pasted from an unrelated press release.


A 1950s study that tried to measure coolness of jobs identified five factors that gave a career prestige: importance of the task performed, level of authority you have, the know-how required, the dignity of the tasks required and pay. Scoring highest were jobs like bankers, executives, ministers and professors.


Funny not just because I'll bet real money that there was never a study done in the 50s to measure the "coolness" of jobs, but if there were the highest scorers would be jazz musician and movie star.


Fast-forward to today, when, writes Gutfeld, “the Labor Department reports that only 47% of Americans have a full-time job. That’s because it’s hard to get full-time work as a maker of artisanal tricycles.” “Raising awareness” didn’t strike anyone as much of a career in the 1950s, but a recent survey of 350 college students discovered that “social consciousness,” i.e., daft activities like collecting signatures on petitions for Greenpeace, was among the accepted cool traits.


Funny thing, the percentage of Americans with full time jobs was lower in the 50s and 60s because women weren't really in the labor force as they are now. Social consciousness can be cool, depending on what you're trying to do (tax breaks for the rich doesn't count). And since when do conservatives attack job creators, even of artisanal tricycles?


The end result of eco-minded hipster thinking is, for example, the San Francisco ban on plastic shopping bags. This well-intentioned move in favor of all that is green and natural actually wound up killing people. Why? Because when you use bags to transport food, bacteria collects in them.


Yes, bacteria collect in everything


Reusing that Earth-friendly tote gradually turns it into a chemical weapon. The ban, declared a University of Pennsylvania study, “is associated with a 46% increase in death from food-borne illnesses. That implies an increase of 5.5 annual deaths for the county.” (The researchers added that this was a conservative estimate.)


Unless, you know, you clean them.


So the bag ban is basically a serial killer on the loose. But it’s cool because we probably saved the lives of at least five seagulls, and more important, it makes us feel cool. More cities are sure to follow. A similar jihad against DDT, which saved an estimated 500 million lives according to The Economist, has led to the deaths of perhaps millions in Africa, where cool environmentalism meets cold hard reality. Now a few groovy artisanal types are sounding the alarm about vaccines, with predictably depressing results.


The old DDT lie. I feel the coolness slipping away ...


“Purity is a big thing with the coolerati,” notes Gutfeld. “But, like cool, it exists separate from the notions of good and evil. Pure sugar is delicious. How about pure cocaine? How about pure horses–t?” That depends: Is it locally sourced?


At least we know what's on his shopping list - sugar, cocaine and horsesh!t.





OK, so why aren’t conservatives cool? Gutfeld makes a valid point: “From my experience being around conservatives, it’s extremely frustrating how dismissive they are of ‘weird’ things, and that hurts them.”


Gutfeld chooses the music that backs his segments on “The Five” and “my choices are never met with ‘That’s good’ or ‘That sucks.’ It’s always rewarded with anguished looks on the other panelists’ faces and the two-word review, ‘That’s weird.’ ”


Automatically dismissing tradition and latching onto whatever’s new isn’t cool. But neither is being closed-minded.


Now that's funny! Who knew that being a close minded jerk would make someone uncool? I'm guessing that part isn't mentioned in the book, because if he led with that the book would be one page long.


I blame it all on the Internet

this gutfield has mastered


what is known as the "self-refuting argument." 



“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw



Zuckerberg backed, through his Forward US PAC, Keystone XL and the republican senators who support it. And he did that to open up H1B's to more cheap tech immigrants so he can keep salaries at Facebook down.


Zucckie as a symbol of social consciousness, Greenpeace, and Woodstock is a joke if there ever was one. This is one hardened, cynical capitalist. He makes Jobs, hardly a saint himself, look like Gandhi in comparison.


The DDT myth is a pest worse than the mosquitoes DDT was supposed to kill. In conservaworld(tm) there is no evolution. But here on Earth there is. DDT was accumulating in animal and human tissue, because it does not biodegrade, while it was becoming less and less effective in the field as mosquitos became DDT resistant. Those are the hard facts. Worse yet, this is a convenient feature, not a bug, for pesticides. Pests adapt, so ever higher quantities of product are needed to achieve the same effect.

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

Come on now MA


Jobs was a prime instigator of a vast conspiracy amongst large tech companies to keep salaries down. And nope that's not hyperbole.


And while Jobs was only one of many executives involved he's certainly no cleaner than Zuckerberg and probably worse on this particular issue.


Oops: Sorry catchy just saw that you posted a link to this two days earlier.

I Come Here Not To Defend Jobs


Rather, to make people aware of what a special brand of cynical SOB Zuckerberg is.

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

Plus Jobs Is, As They Say, Dead At The Present Time

M Scott Eiland's picture

So demonizing him in favor of the living guy is sort of wasteful.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).



While Zuckie took money from the CIA to fund Facebook.


Like I said, Jobs is Mother Teresa in comparison.

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

Chinese Foxconn factories?


Jobs has the villain thing goin on too.


... not that I can really complain about either since I own a MacBook Air and visit facebook almost every day.



I think running a vacuum cleaner for the NSA on the personal data of one billion people, including you apparently, is worse than being an old-fashioned industrial exploiter. Especially since Jobs was one of the last to do that (and curiously Apple was added to Prism only after Jobs died).


Jobs was a bastard. Zuck smells of sulfur. Not the same ballpark.

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

All they have to do is wait.


Whatever is considered cool, hip or innovative today will be conservative in 30-40 years.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

But they live in an eternal 1960s

HankP's picture

where uppity women, blacks, hispanics, native Americans, gays, etc. etc. are always fighting to remove white privilege. Remember, the 60s were 40 years ago and they still aren't over it.  They're still talking about hippies for Christ sake, they haven't been spotted in the wild since 1975.


I blame it all on the Internet

Hippie-punching never seems to go out of style

Jay C's picture

I mean, really:


It imposed warped values — [...]  romantic outlaw status for murderous enemies of America (the Weather Underground, Mumia Abu-Jamal, the Boston Marathon bombers) — on the mainstream.

"Weather Underground"? A (literal) blast from the past: 45 years ago, and only vaguely "romantic-outlaw" even back then.


"Mumia Abu-Jamal"? An convicted cop-killer, but "murderous enem[y] of America"? And I'm sure most "mainstream" Americans have no idea whatsoever who he is.


"Boston Marathon bombers"? SRSLY? WTF? I'm sure somewhere in this big country of ours there is some poor schmuck who views the Tsarnaev brothers as something other than (at their MOST sympathetic) deluded terrorist fools; but again, hardly mainstream AFAICT.

It's Rather Easy To Comprehend

M Scott Eiland's picture

1. The willingness of a stealth-resumed future candidate for President to associate with one of its more notorious members explains the renewed interest in the Weather Underground (and has dragged liberals into limp excuses for its murderous activities);

2. More like "murderous mascot for the enemies of America." The man himself is a garden-variety murderer whose continued use of oxygen is an indictment on the US legal system.

3. This one is only questionable in that calling Rolling Stone cool at this point is to grossly flatter a pathetic and over the hill institution. The pictorial cheerleading for terrorists was quite real.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Posted without comment

HankP's picture

The Paranoid Style in American Politics


I blame it all on the Internet

And 50 years later

Bird Dog's picture

Still going strong

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

You didn't read the essay nt

HankP's picture


I blame it all on the Internet

You shouldn't write things that are false

Bird Dog's picture

Present comment included (and past comment, to name just one). Quote:

The enemy is clearly delineated: he is a perfect model of malice, a kind of amoral superman—sinister, ubiquitous, powerful, cruel, sensual, luxury-loving. Unlike the rest of us, the enemy is not caught in the toils of the vast mechanism of history, himself a victim of his past, his desires, his limitations. He wills, indeed he manufactures, the mechanism of history, or tries to deflect the normal course of history in an evil way. He makes crises, starts runs on banks, causes depressions, manufactures disasters, and then enjoys and profits from the misery he has produced.

Echoes of Harry Reid about those evil Kochs.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Um, no

HankP's picture

Reid is criticizing the Kochs for specific actions, not setting them up as 21st century Goldsteins.


You might want to look at how conservatives talk about "leftists" for a better example.


I blame it all on the Internet

"The Koch brothers are trying to buy America"

Bird Dog's picture


Uh, yeah, specific actions.


"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

that's some selective quotation


From the very article you linked and then rather selectively quoted:


Reid charged that Charles and David Koch, who are tied for fourth place on the Forbes list of 400 richest people in the United States, violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, citing a 2011 report by Bloomberg Markets magazine.


“These are the same brothers whose company, according to a Bloomberg investigation, paid bribes and kickbacks to win contracts in Africa, India and the Middle East,” Reid said on the Senate floor. “These are the same brothers who, according to the same report, used foreign subsidiaries to sell millions of dollars of equipment to Iran, a state sponsor of terrorism.”

those seem like specifics to me. whether they have merit or not, at least they can be checked.

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

Serious allegations

Bird Dog's picture

But that's all it was, because nothing came of them. No charges, no fines, no arrests, no subpoenas, no courtroom squabbles, etc.

The fact is that Koch conducted an internal investigation of its payment practices, found wrongdoing at one of its foreign subsidiaries, Koch-Glisch France, and fired those involved. Koch Industries did business with Iran, legally, then stopped doing business with Iran. If Douchebag Reid was honestly upset about this, he would've gone to the Senate floor and excoriated GE. The WA Post ombudsman and ProPublica stepped in and concluded that the allegations lacked context.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009



so you agree that specific charges were made, ones that had enough merit that koch internally investigated them, found internal fault and took action on to correct.


remind me again how that relates to the "paranoid style?" because your accusation of such against reid looks to be a big pile of smelly horse poo.

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

If you have to distort your case,

Bird Dog's picture

like Douchebag Reid, you don't have much of a case, do you?

EDIT: The reason Koch investigated itself was because of the Siemens case, so this was a proactive self-investigation. People who aren't douchebags would be compelled to acknowledge that Koch was actually practicing corporate responsibility.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

weak tea


the particulars of this investigation aren't the issue.


the subject at hand is the "paranoid style" which you are trying to impute to reid because you claimed he was making no more specific claim than  "koch is trying to buy america" even though your own article mentioned the specific charges.


deflect and handwave and change the subject all you want.


if you wanna show wacko paranoia in your political opponents, pick a better example. should'nt *that* hard to find, although not at a CPAC level, that's for sure.


“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

Douchebag Reid's demonizing...

Bird Dog's picture

...speaks for itself, and for his paranoia.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Only to you nt

HankP's picture


I blame it all on the Internet

Neither Koch Bro is in prison or has been charged with a crime.


Self-examination is a fine thing but I don't review my own code or cut my own hair, either.  The investigation was hardly proactive:  Koch Industries has demonstrably lied to regulators.  Why are you trying to defend the Koch people?  Half the stuff they do to pervert the system and shortcut regulation is all perfectly legal - or simply existentially nonexistent insofar as nobody can prove anything. These are dangerous people.  They lie to governments.  What's so great about these guys?  You're not getting paid to defend them.  What is your point?

My point?

Bird Dog's picture

The Senate Majority Leader of the United States has decided to launch a series of political attacks, targeting two private citizens who employ 60,000 people, for overtly political purposes. Douchebag Reid is a cancer on the DC political scene and I will freely criticize him when he prioritizes his binges of dishonest spleen-venting over actually trying to accomplish something.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

You have wandered a bit far afield from Reid-bashing


and are now attempting to deflect certain allegations of criminal behaviour by the people Harry Reid is accusing of being un-American.   Every good lie, like a mean kid's snowball, contains a rock of truth.  The Koch Brothers are exactly what Reid says they are.  Their enterprises have routinely subverted the political process, both within US borders and internationally.  All they want is less regulation and less taxation, entirely reasonable goals.  Their methods are not so reasonable.  Their methods are manifestly criminal.  It wouldn't matter if they employed six million people, that is a proven fact, with which you are not bothering to argue, since I've produced the evidence they are in fact lying.


I hate Harry Reid.  You know that.  If you can't get so far as to admit the Koch Brothers are running despicable attack ads on candidates, warranting the very sort of demonisation they hand out to others, I'm afraid this discussion is at an end and my point is made:  you are defending the Koch Brothers without accepting the form and substance of the complaints against them.

I don't care about the Kochs

Bird Dog's picture

I do care when an elected douchebag and party leader targets private citizens, all because those private citizens don't agree with the douchebag's politics.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Of course you don't

HankP's picture

the supplication to the wealthy (and denial of such) is core to the Republican (and the I'm-not -a-Republican-but-I still-believe-everything-Repubicans-stand-for) approach to politics. Indeed, it's a core requirement.


I blame it all on the Internet

Then from whence comes all this malarkey about self-auditing?


And all that stuff about those audits coming to nothing?   Isn't Harry Reid entitled to say the Kochs are un-American, as surely as the Kochs can attack elected officials?   All the crap about George Soros over the years, I'm sure you'll point to him as being convicted of Inside Trading.  Turn about might not seem like fair play to you and me, but the aforementioned fainting couches await.  There's no excuse for what the Kochs are doing with their money, hundreds of millions of dollars worth of it.   Lies are the bread of life of politics in this country.  Efforts have been made to clean it up, starting with identifying who's paying for these attack ads, but SCOTUS said McCain-Feingold was somehow constricting free speech. 


If the Kochs had any sense, and they're currently exhibiting more pique than good sense, they'd quit associating themselves with evil company.  These Tea Partiers are red-faced reactionaries, unfit for high office.  They're like Mikie, he hates everything.  Maybe if they would clean up their polluting act and get on the bandwagon of righteousness, Harry Reid would quit calling them nasty names.  They picked a fight, they chose their targets.  Seconds out.  Harry Reid has cut them a New One and they don't like it one bit, being turned into the villains of this story.  Neither, it seems, do you.

Douchebag Reid is free to say anything he wants,

Bird Dog's picture

and he quite often does, Senate decorum and tradition be damned. He is also free to spread falsehoods, and he quite often does. And I am free to refer to him as a douchebag for his hyperpartisan, dishonest and ultimately counterproductive behavior, particularly since he is this nation's second most powerful elected Democrat.

The Kochs were held accountable for their actions, per your link, paying millions in fines. We'll see if Reid is held accountable for his this November and when he comes up for reelection in 2016.

And if you think I'm in the Tea Party's corner, then be disappointed. Ted Cruz, its presumptive leader, is the Senator I dislike second most.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Senate Decorum. You just wish Reid would shut up.


Well, I'm no fan of the man, either.  I'm just sick of all this talk of hyper-partisanship and douchebaggery ad nauseam sic transit gloria mundi, as if the Kochs weren't shovelling it out by the metric buttload, to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars.  The Japanese have a proverb, oya-baka, every idiot's mother thinks him a genius.  The Kochs can dish it out.  Presumably they can take it, too.  They don't need a pity party from Outraged Conservatives.  First, the Kochs aren't conservative.  They're libertarian.  I have no idea why you can't get on board with calling a spade a spade in re the Koch Brothers.  They're crooks.


Bird Dog's picture

I don't want Reid to shut up, I want him to lose, badly and embarrassingly. I want the primary reason for his bad and embarrassing loss to be because of his boorish, dishonest and hyperpartisan behavior. The way to cure the cancer he spreads in DC is to vote him out.

As for the Kochs, I'll just say that Criticism of Party A ≠ Defense of Party B. As my links showed, I don't deny the transgressions that accrued to them.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

not everyone agrees with you




“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

While I'll Decline To Characterize This. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .I will suggest that a great deal of broken glass just landed on the floor of the Forvm. I'd also have to say that dragging an uninvolved commenter into already borderline comments about another poster's style is probably also a candidate for running afoul of the posting rules. Just my two cents.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

i'll do it for you


i would characterize it as "noting a hypocrisy in how one addresses similar recent comments from one's hyperpartisan pals."


its a bit different than "dragging out a list of a couple of dozen comments over a period of years because you want to air you grudges and grievances."



“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw


M Scott Eiland's picture

You mean like this?

YMMV, indeed.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

hey yeah, sure.


i'll cop to using the ole "kneepads" gag to get a (ahem) rise out of you. i just knew it would tickle yr fancy..

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

Then what's this about Senate Decorum be damned, etc?


I wish McCain-Feingold were still in place.  I wish all these unelected chumps who buy all these attack ads were exposed.  Soros, too.  I'm no fan of him, either.   Nevada is one of those sh*thole states which routinely returns the most godawful people to Congress.  I believe a madman could wander through that state and murder a thousand politicians at random and not kill an honest man.


C'mon, here's what I don't get about your line of argument.  You've come back a half-dozen times, parrying my charges about those disgusting Koch brothers.  They're just horrible people, disgusting polluters, backing execrable candidates - look at what their little darlings have wrought, for godsakes.   Those Tea Party chumps are wrecking the Republican Party.  Everyone knows it.   They are un-American.  How else can their actions be interpreted?  They're intent upon deregulating everything, they're not even honest Libertarians. 


Bird Dog's picture

I'm not even sure what we're arguing about, because I haven't really answered your charges about the Kochs. I'm pretty sure my focus was on Reid and his behavior.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

You're annoyed with Harry Reid


I'm annoyed at all the dark 501(c)(4) money from the Kochs and Soros and all the rest of these swine.  I call it Political Sewage.  It's backing up through the drains, overflowing the toilets, beyond reprehensible.  It used to be criminal.  The malarkey from Harry Reid about "un-American", that's par for the political course, if it weren't for the sickening reality of what the Kochs are doing, pumping all this Political Sewage into the system.  Bad as he is, as crooked as Reid's proven himself to be over all these long years, for once, he has a point about the Kochs.  I wish you'd accede to that point. 

The Koch brothers: fragile, private citizens


what have they ever done to be targeted by a menacing and powerful Senate majority leader?


If only the Koch brothers had some sort of resources at their disposal, or perhaps if they knew people who wielded a little power or influence, they could turn this into more of a fair fight.


So. . .Money Is The Equivalent Of Political Power?

M Scott Eiland's picture

And, to follow that reasoning. . .that money is *speech*?

*Scott clears his throat*


My vengeance is now complete. ]:-)

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

IIRC catchy was on


the pro-free-speech side in Citizens United,  or at least agreed that there were some valid points in the majority opinion.

Speech is free. Advertising isn't.


Now, one thing Harry Reid has, which the Koch Brothers don't, is actual political power.  With that power comes a forest of microphones and cameras.  Harry Reid has called the Koch Brothers un-American.  And lo, who comes running, rolling two oversized gurneys and the crash cart, but a host of Koch ass-kissers, attempting to resuscitate their sullied reputations.  


Harry Reid called bullsh*t on the Kochs and some people around here just can't stand it.  After you lot finish getting the Kochs onto those gurneys and into the Waaaaambulances, take a little break on the conveniently provided fainting couches.   Granted, they're from JC Penney, circa 1980 and bit cheezy and if I'm not mistaken, you may have to scrape some encrusted cat yack off the upholstery,  but they'll serve your purposes admirably.   Never did a pair of lying crooks deserve a b*tch-slapping from Washington's master liar as was gotten by those Koch brothers.

In Other Words. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .yes, money serves nicely to counteract the free media provided by media sycophants to Harry the Dour Liar. Thanks for confirming my point, and for validating Citizens United.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

If there were other words, I would have said them.


Money does not translate into political power directly, unless you are willing to stipulate the existence of corruption, in which case, yes, money does buy politicians.   Seems to me, if we are to put words in each others' mouths, a tactic I find a bit reprehensible, this nation should just tolerate these attack ads as just another manifestation of free speech and not rip aside the fig leaves which cover those people who buy them.  


If the Kochs put half as much money into cleaning up their refineries as they do into attack ads, they too would be the Media Darlings of the Left, fine upstanding citizens who employ lots of people, whose corporations minimise pollution and don't get slapped with 20 million USD fines for lying to regulators.


Well, the First Amendment and Citizens United protects their free speech, as surely as it protects Harry Reid.  The Kochs belch out pollution into the air, why prohibit them from belching their poisonous nonsense onto the airwaves?  

well, and also


like it or not the legitimacy of reid's media attention derives from the fact that he was duly elected by a large number of citizens and then again by his fellow senators to lead the majority. so he represents a lot of people democratically, in some fashion.

free media provided by media sycophants to Harry the Dour Liar

He better be getting media. he's the elected senate majority leader. he actually has a constituency, unlike the koch brothers who have a paid (and unpaid, apparently) coterie of sycophants who must now have kneepads on 24/7 to administer the fluffing we've been seeing of late.


whining about "why do we pay attention to harry reid and not to these rich f*cks" is just anti-democratic rhetoric.


thats the problem, these guys having a sh*t ton of money is enough to outweigh the voices of millions of people who actually elect our politicians (whether they're assholes or not). 

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

Is that a general "you" or


referring to nilsey?

I would like to think that the person who has contributed...

Bird Dog's picture

...63% of the last 30 diaries in this blog has earned the benefit of the doubt. Or am I mistaken?

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

You are mistaken

HankP's picture

there's no such "write a lot of garbage and get a free pass" rule here.


I blame it all on the Internet

We agree

Bird Dog's picture

Because I don't write garbage, and you don't write comments that you can back up.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Your writing

HankP's picture

is subject to interpretation. The constant obsession with Obama and the lack of comparisons to his predecessor are clear.


I back up my comments fine, I'm just not interested in spending time searching through the archives for information that's readily apparent to everyone who's spent more than a week here.


I blame it all on the Internet

Here's a tip

Bird Dog's picture

If you're not "interested in spending time searching through the archives for information", then don't make the assertions in the first place. And, no, you don't back up your comments just fine, as shown.

As for "constant obsession with Obama", whatever dude.


"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Here's another tip

HankP's picture

you don't set the terms of debate around here. Thank goodness.


I blame it all on the Internet

I'm not

Bird Dog's picture

I acknowledge that you either can't or won't back up what you say, so the credibility of the content of your comments is weighted accordingly.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009


Zelig's picture

I have no problem whatsoever with Hank's credibility. Of course, Hank ain't no hyperpartisan witchhunter filled with anti-liberal rage, so that helps. 

Me: We! -- Ali

Don't get in trouble on my account

HankP's picture

history speaks for itself.


I blame it all on the Internet


Bird Dog's picture


"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Wrong, as usual.

Zelig's picture

Unless you can document any errors in my description of Hank, my description of him stands. If you can document any errors, I'll accept your "PRV" accusation. I'll wait. 

Me: We! -- Ali

It was attack on the commenter,

Bird Dog's picture

and not on any comments written. Under your standards, I could just as easily call you and Hank assholes. After all, it's just an opinion of what I've seen of yours and Hank's writing, just as you opined about mine.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

How about the three of you move along.


No issue of credibility but you're all outside the bounds of content worth reading and flirting with content that needs addressing.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

*Scott Sighs. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .and makes sure that his Photobucket account is up to date*

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Do you not think that Mr Obama needs criticism?

mmghosh's picture

And not just from the left.  I happen to agree that he's doing doing well on the FP front (since I don't know much about internal US dynamics), but its always good to hear the other viewpoint.  Whether substantive or not.

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

That Is True

M Scott Eiland's picture

However, BD's comment could also be read as an implicit statement that he was directing his comments at Harry the Dour Liar, not any member of the Forvm. Particularly since he didn't respond by saying something to the effect of "I'll say what I want, suspend me if you must." Of course, BD can clarify as he sees fit, and the troika seems disinclined to act further as things stand.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Just asking -nt



I think you just wrote the new tagline for Fox News.


Not to mention the GOP, and modern conservatism itself.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Those sound like serious crimes


Did Bloomberg or Reid forward these allegations to the Justice Department? 

i swear those goalposts were right in front of me


a second ago.

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

Oh, I agree you made that kick


i.e.  you are correct that Reid made some specific allegations.


But 3 pts isn't much.  You want more.


Specific doesn't equal true.  Reid has a documented history of making stuff up.  BD had a more colorful name for it at one time.  If the allegations are true,  they involve national security and Reid needs to turn over whatever he's got.  It's a case where important patriotic duty aligns with massive political advantage.  What's to lose?


And maybe he did turn it over,  I don't know.  If he didn't,  I'd say the easiest explanation is that he's got nothing.



Very Specific

M Scott Eiland's picture

If we're going by the standards of "The Protocols Of The Elders Of Zion," anyway.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

The Kochs are more likely to destroy the GOP


than anything else.  They might not be buying America outright but they're buying themselves a host of political drones.  The Kochs don't care about political parties.  They want lower taxes and less regulation and the GOP will either do as they say or they'll be run out of office.  It's just that simple.  The Koch AFP machine is quite as ready to take out a recalcitrant Republican as any Democrat or anyone else who gets in their way.  The GOP made a bad bargain signing on with the Koch machine.  The Democrats don't much care, they've been on the receiving end of Koch fire for a long time.  Look at Harry Reid, he no longer cares about the consequences of yet another Koch barrage. 


The Koch Party is not the GOP.  The GOP is just now coming to terms with that fact. 

Given That Their Concern. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .seems to be economics and not the increasingly unpopular social issues, I'm not sure how you figure that this is a bad thing for the Republicans.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Will the GOP leadership take orders from Koch or not?


The Tea Parties have driven the GOP brand into the dirt.  The Tea Party reactionaries, backed by Koch money, have caused no end of grief in GOP leadership circles.


Tell you a story.  Worked with this charity in India for a while.  Pretty good mission, education for poor children.  It was sort of a family thing, Indian family, Christians, generally I like to see such efforts run by locals and not by foreign outsiders.  But they only had a few large donors who were constantly meddling in the running of the school, threatening to withdraw funding if these educators didn't do what they said.  What they needed was - first, better accounting - and two, they needed to enlarge their donor base, lots of smaller donors who wouldn't be pushing their fingers up this family's backside at every opportunity, turning what should have been a local endeavour into yet another foreigner-run charity.


So they did.  We put together a good campaign, did a much better brochure and got more donors.  About that time the big donor pulled out.  Good thing, too.  Finally, these people, the educators, can run their school without constant interference.


And that's where the GOP is vis-a-vis the Koch brothers.  The GOP and the Tea Parties are not on the same page, not by a long shot.  I maintain the Kochs are behind a good deal of this dichotomy.  The GOP, the actual conservatives - god wot - the nation badly needs some real conservatives out there - and for all the world, it looks like the Kochs have shoved their entire forearms up Ted Cruz' bunghole and are now moving his jaw.  It's disgraceful, to see movement conservatives kowtow to these Libertarian bums.



the "increasingly unpopular social issues" are what used to get GOPers elected despite economic positions that were at best opaque to those voters.


changes in demographics are taking care of the wedge issues that the GOP used to carve off parts of the electorate (race, homophobia, misogyny).


when all that's left are "economic issues" that are pretty increasingly and transparently counter to the interests of majorities of voters (things like climate change phobia, healthcare policies, labor policies and financial regulations that screw the lower classes to benefit the upper ones etc), there's not going to be a lot of  people left think their interests align with the koch's.


i mean, at this point their hanging on by basic GOP tribal identification, obamacare uncertainty, and pure hysteria at the obummer muslimofagocracy... but barely.


i mean, can one even name 2 topline policies where the average voter might prefer the GOP position?

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw



the influx of a few high quantity donors to a political party makes it susceptible to a skewed ecology of that small groups wants and desires. they disappear (or change whims) and the whole party is pretty much screwed.


this is the same for either party by the way, gop or dem.


the way to get around it is to disconnect the governance of the nation from democratic processes to begin with. cutting out the voter as a necessity of governance. that's the the ultimate goal of these oligarchs in any case. 

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

Do you think it's fair to go after big donors such as the Kochs?


Serious question.   It's been going on a long time, going back to the dawn of the Republic. Are there any meaningful bounds of propriety, considering how awful it's always been?  Is there any point to hollering about it any more?  I don't know.  Part of me wishes these people would behave themselves and clean up the political donor system.  The other part of me says, what the hell, the Kochs and Soros et al. are big boys and a bit of sanctimonious screaming is music to their ears.


Bird Dog's picture

To the extent that big donors hide their contributions, I think it's fair to "go after" them.

To the extent that Reid & Co. resort to falsehoods and distortions in going after big donors, I think it's unfair.

To the extent that Harry Reid demonizes one big donor and takes a blind eye to others such as this guy and this guy, for example, I think it's unfair and blatantly hypocritical. Far as we know, the Kochs have not broken campaign financing laws, which speaks to the laws themselves, for which Harry Reid is responsible for passing, which makes his "un-American" rhetoric both stupid and douchebaggy and tendentious.

But this isn't really about big donors, it's about finding a Bad Guy to demonize for this election cycle. Back in the 1990s, it was Richard Mellon Scaife. This time it's the Kochs. That these Bad Guys are private citizens and not public figures I find problematic.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Unfair and blatantly hypocritical?


After all the spleen-venting you've done about Soros over the years it's a little rich for you now to be sensitive to the sensibilities of private citizens.

"I don't want us to descend into a nation of bloggers." - Steve Jobs

I'm not an elected official,

Bird Dog's picture

nor have I any political power except for my vote, nor have I demonized Soros for funding hacks, only that certain groups of hacks are Soros-funded, nor have I accused him of committing felonies (catchy did that), nor have I said that he is un-American. And so forth. My most severe criticism of him has been that he is "misguided", and you're free to prove otherwise. It's funny--and not a little entertaining--because all I do is say "Soros-funded", which is factual, and all kinds of left-wingers here go bats**t crazy.


"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

haha and also


It's funny--and not a little entertaining--because all I do is say "Soros-funded", which is factual, and all kinds of left-wingers here go bats**t crazy.

i dunno... that sounds... a little... "trollish" if you ask me.



“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw



define "bats**t crazy?"


i would guess the occasional scoffing is not going to meet "bath**t crazy."


i'd say something like obsessively collecting years-long grudge lists of comment links to use against your fellow commenters might come closer to the bats**t line, although i'll keep my opinion of which side of the line its on to myself.

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw


Bird Dog's picture

A recounting of a person's actual comments, i.e., a track record, is a "grudge list". It's just awful being held to account for your very own words.

What MSE said.


"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009



a grudge list. seemed like something you kind of keep going, add on to over time etc....


if you seriously spent any significant amount of time compiling comments going back years to prove a stupid point, that may or may not cross another line of obssessive behavior.


either way, it's creepy. whether its bats**t crazy i leave to the casual reader to figure out.

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

Posting Rules

M Scott Eiland's picture

"Obsessively collecting" falls afoul of "comment, not the commenter."

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

yeah it does beg teh question


i'll retract the obsessively qualifier, hahaha.... the behavior speaks for itself.

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

Put aside the execrable Harry Reid for a moment


and his scurrilous charges.  Of course it's hypocritical, that's a given.  Hope you got through that Harper's article from Richard Hofstader: it reads as if it was written yesterday.  But since Citizens United, it's been possible to hide endless sums of attack ad money.  As for ginning up Bad Guys, c'mon, I've already stipulated to Soros funding and the like.  Tom Steyer is a different sort of political animal.  In any case, he's no more objectionable than the Big Coal money. 


Do you know the first orgs to go after nuclear power were the home heating oil firms?  They were scared witless of electric heat in houses.  They funded attack ads against the building of the Shoreham plant on Long Island.  Interesting movie you ought to see, Pandora's Promise, it's on Netflix.  Outlines the harum-scarum surrounding the nuclear power issue and many of the erstwhile opponents of nuclear power who've come around on the issue, as I was obliged to do some years ago.


Citizens' United tore down any distinction between public and private.  If some tendentious jamoke can secretly fund an ad saying "Senator A is a Bad Guy", the obvious conclusion being that Candidate B is better, we've got a problem in politics and McCain-Feingold was enacted to put the brakes on some of that sort of thing.  Now with the McCutcheon v FEC case before the court, the remaining withered fig leaves of Mc-F are about to be pulled away, revealing the shaggy beast for what it always was anyway.  If Senator A is a Bad Guy, the *sshole who funded that ad is also a Bad Guy.



Ever wonder why Bill Ayers didn't go to prison, Scott?


When you comprehend the answer to that question, the 60s will make a lot more sense to you.

Doesn't Make Him Not Terrorist Scum. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .and it doesn't excuse anyone who chose to associate with him, then or now. He freely admitted and admits his guilt, so the lack of a conviction is only relevant in that appropriate contempt can be directed at him without bars in the way.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Why was Bill Ayers not prosecuted for his crimes, Scott?


What else was going on at the time?  Go on, as long as you're going to drag his name in here and tar President Obama by association - let's see if you're up to explaining how this terrorist scum got off. 

Law enforcement misconduct


which is, as MSE says, irrelevant.   The prosecution was dropped basically for the same reasons as the exclusionary rule,  first,  to (theoretically) deter future misconduct,  and second,  to avoid having the misconduct dragged out in open court.


None of which means Ayers was not a criminal (for his terrorism) and a moral defective (for his communism).

Communists are morally defective?

mmghosh's picture

OTT, no?  Defective economic predictions, possibly.

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

Prior to 1922


I would describe them as merely in error.   1922 to roughly 1933,  gravely in error.   After the holodomor and other events of the 1930's,  there's no possible excuse.

After Guantanamo, there's no excuse for America, either.


Can you compose an excuse for Guantanamo?

No, I can't.


Which is why I can't be a member of the Republican/Democrat war party.

You are tarred with that brush, nonetheless.


Why should I accept the premise that every Communist was guilty of the Holomodor and Stalin's purges, when you cannot accept your role as an American citizen in the actions of your state?  What did you do to stop it?  Would you have violently resisted the actions of the state, confronted with such crimes, on the strength of your conscience?   I do not condone Bill Ayers' actions.  But those who would conflate Communism with the actions of Stalin and the USSR must toe the line they draw for others.

I distinguish


"Russian" or "Citizen of the Soviet Union"  from communist.    Likewise I distinguish "American" or "US Citizen"  from "Iraq warmonger".


For that matter, I wouldn't really blame a 1980's Russian for being a member of the communist party,  or for passively accepting communism.   There weren't other options and the system was constructed to seriously disadvantage those who didn't play along.


What did you do to stop it? 


Classic example of an argument that proves too much.  Also a classic example of a part of Catholic doctrine I had a problem with,  namely,  conflating action and inaction. No one can stop every evil in the world,  nor do they have a responsibility to do so.  Such a duty would squeeze out everything else in life.


Somewhere in the world a child starved yesterday,  I failed to prevent it,  and ate well myself.  That is by no means the same as joining an organization dedicated to the starvation of children - for example the Communist Party,  which did precisely that in the Ukraine.


Similarly, I wouldn't want or expect Bill Ayers to do anything out of his way to stop communism.  If he found himself living in a communist country,  I wouldn't demand that he go out of his way to avoid associating with it.  However, I'd prefer that he hadn't actively promoted it when living in a place where there was no pressure to do so,  and ample access to history books making it clear what he was promoting.

Then stop bandying terms like Moral Defective about


if you wish to avoid the problems created by Sins of Commission over and against Sins of Omission.  You would say a Communist is morally defective.  I say, with Mao Zedong "All men without land are already Communists."   It's not clear in my mind where Communism becomes a moral defect, any more than Capitalism is morally defective.  Both stand guilty as charged. 

I'll stick with moral defective


Labels and symbols are important.   After the mid 1930's the word "communist" had definite associations with mass killings.   Bill Ayers' adoption of the label for himself indicated,  at a minimum,  that he didn't think the events of the 1930's were bad enough to warrant even the minimal effort of coming up with some different words to to differentiate his beliefs from those others.

B-52 bombs were democratic and impartial in their effects


when we dropped more of them on the civilians of Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam than we dropped on Germany and Japan.  Labels are important to me, too.  Morality is what I believe to be immoral, what I won't do under any circumstances.  Ethics is me telling you something you're doing is wrong.  Big difference.  You can call the USSR ethically defective:  you think what they did was wrong.  I will call the USA morally defective for it was my nation that did these things.  And we would both be right.


My nation had definite associations with mass killings:  do you have any conception of how much damage a single B-52 bomb load could do?  Each carries 50 five hundred pound bombs.  We dropped seven million tons of bombs on those people. 


And you think a label makes a difference?  The explosive doesn't care.  Those guys in the B-52s didn't care.  They went to a set of coordinates and dumped those bombs like so much garbage.  If there were consequences for the people upon whom those bombs fell, do you think they should have said "Oh well, a democracy dropped those bombs in hopes freedom would come to our people.  Guess it's all for the best."  We've never been able to export democracy but we sure as f*ck go on thinking we're morally superior to the people upon whom we dumped those bombs we shipped all the way across the Pacific Ocean. 


Maybe it's part of our coping mechanism, to think we're not mass killers because we have a better sounding label and a better looking flag than the Commies.  I am perpetually amused every MLK Day to see how his opposition to the Vietnam War is never mentioned.  The Vietnam War was an ethical nightmare. 


A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say: "This is not just."

That glaring contrast of poverty and wealth has given rise to Communism everywhere.  It continues to this day everywhere feudalism continues.  That's where the USA is headed now.  Don't like Communism?  I don't either.  But the difference between us is pretty clear:  you're going to go on making excuses for capitalism as if its crimes are justifiable where communism's were not. 

We're onto a different argument


You are arguing that I am a moral defective,  and I won't disagree.   However,  no amount of collective/associative guilt heaped on me reduces Ayers' heap one bit.  It's not a zero sum game,  there's plentiful guilt out there for the taking.   And I don't think all piles are of the same size.   Ayers' chose to mine a particularly rich lode.







Bill Ayers has to live with the consequences of his actions.


I'm not arguing that you're a moral defective.  Besides, I hate nominalisation.  You're not "a moral defective".  You might as well be "a moral", for all that.  It's a silly pejorative and I won't have you put it in my mouth for you to roll your eyes to heaven and accept, like some would-be St. Sebastian with all those arrows sticking out of him.


My point should be clear.  Nobody comes out of a war and brushes off the dust from his uniform and says "Well, that's a fine bit of work done in the name of truth and justice."    Communism is the logical endpoint of feudalism.  You won't find communism anywhere else, not where people actually own things, anyway.  To blame the Communists for the actions of the tyrants acting in its name is just the worst sort of conflation.  I oppose Communism because I also oppose feudalism and unfettered capitalism.  I believe unregulated capitalism leads to feudalism and wage slavery and every society which doesn't plan for that eventuality and impose some measure of socialism had better plan for another Lenin in a train car, headed their way. 

+1. nt

mmghosh's picture


freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

And religious affiliation?


Are morally decent people allowed to separate a given religious ideology from nasty bloody acts perpetrated by some of its practitioners? Or is every religious person morally defective given "definite associations with mass killings"?

Good question


The short answer is no,  they can't be separated.   However,  one can list a number of counterpoints or mitigating factors that don't apply to Mr. Ayers.


1.  People are born into religions as children,  and breaking away from the family religion could have some very serious personal costs.   I'm willing to cut such people more slack than someone who,  as an adult,  deliberately elects to join a religion with a history of nasty bloody acts.


2.  People may be attracted to certain positive aspects of the religion,  and while being aware of the NBAs,  might believe the positives outweigh the negatives.   Why doesn't the same apply to communism?  Because I don't see any positive aspects whatsoever to communism. 


In any case,  what's the big deal about calling someone a moral defective?   You do remember that large,  mainstream religions have a weekly ritual where everyone stands up (or kneels) and openly and loudly admits to being a moral defective,  and begs forgiveness for it.

"defective" = suboptimal deviation from normal performance


since the norm is for humans to be religiously affiliated, I think we're at a reductio of your position.


Also, I don't recall anyone ever criticizing a president for affiliating with adult converts. My recollection is that our last president more or less was one.


The criticism of the president


for associating with Ayers is something you'll have to take up with Scott.  I don't recall saying anything about Obama,  and merely maintaining a friendship with a communist is not much of an offense;  I may be guilty of it myself.  I was only defending my labeling of Ayers as a moral defective.



I don't recall anyone ever criticizing a president for affiliating with adult converts.


If you're having trouble recalling,  I think I could find some examples:   1  2  3  .     (Those examples might not be specifically converts,  but if one can find guilt by association with fundamentalists in general,  surely converts are an included case. )



These will tell you America is the Land of the Free -


right up to the point where someone says things they don't like about capitalism.  Then, you'll notice, it's Freedom for Me but Not for Thee. 

Freedom to bomb stuff?


Which amendment is that?


Perhaps you meant the communism.  Of course he's free to be a communist,  or join the KKK,  or be an eliminationist anti-semite,  all of which are about equally despicable in my ratings,  as long as he restricts himself to words rather than deeds.


However, if he objects to me calling him a moral defective he would need to join the Forvm and get under the protection of our posting rules.

You can call Bill Ayers what you wish.


If, however, you wish to lump President Obama in with the actions of the Weather Underground, guilt by association might encompass all American citizens who did not oppose the Vietnam War, or the War on Iraq, or the extrajudicial confinement of prisoners at Guantanamo or the killing of American citizens with drone strikes - that's a big enough vat of tar to correctly label us all who want to make excuses for such things Moral Defectives. 

President Obama?


No,  it doesn't bother me that he associates with Bill Ayers.   We've all got to deal with people,  even friends and family,  who have opinions that are really quite reprehensible.    There's enough Catholic left in me to believe we're all moral defectives.  But of course not all equally defective.

There's enough American in me to believe guilt by association


is the tactic of the tyrant and his inquisitors, the enemies of freedom of speech and freedom of association.  They're the curse of the world, such people.  If there's one thing to learn from the fascists, now that we're well over the border checkpoint and into the Merry Olde Land o' Godwin, they were against many things, chiefly communism, homosexuals, degenerate art, religious objectors (among them the Jews and the Jehovah's Witnesses).  What they were for was a pastiche of patriotism, mom and apple pie stuff, defending our youth from unwholesome influences and the like, a very thin gruel.  They were obsessed with both hyper-modernism and ancient myths, often creating their own to supplement the standard fare, for many of those old myths did not entirely suit their message.


The fascists were against more than they were for.  We have such people in the world today.  The complaints of the fascists are their complaints, today.

Nice try


lumping those things together.   Homosexuality is a personal choice,  degenerate art affects only those who choose to look at it,  religious objectors generally don't want much from us except to be left alone or to be excused from a few specific minor duties.    Communism involves imposing pervasive control over the lives of other people,  and killing those who don't play along.  Sorry, no comparison.

We're well past the Lumping Stage, well into Moral Degeneracy.


Communism only arises as a reaction to the feudal state.  Communism can only appear where ordinary people do not own land or any of the means of production.  As the citizens of a state are gradually driven out of the property-owning class, they will always tend towards communism, which will abolish that class, usually at the end of a rope.  You might as well blame the law of gravity for that terrible landslide in Washington State.  Don't like Communism?  I don't either.  Just recognise it as the terminal endpoint, the end of the line for the Capitalist Train.  Once a few people have everything and the remainder have nothing, you will get Communism, as surely as the world revolves around the sun.

Historical inevitability? Bah.


Rich people owning lots of stuff has been a pattern for at least 6000 years.  Communism cropped up in the last 150.

Wanna go back farther than 6K?


If we're going to talk about patterns of human behavior, millennia of hunter-gatherer and other proto-communes might be relevant.


Also, some communities in the middle ages, esp religious communities like abbeys and monasteries, were roughly organized as communes.


Communism as a theory of articulated principles cropped up in the last 150 yrs, but communities that lived roughly according to those principles did not.

Communes are great


I have no objection at all.   Many extended families,  including my own,  have communal ideas about property within the family.


The problem comes with forcing other people to join,  or preventing them from withdrawing.

May I book you into the first available park bench


at the Anatole France hotel?  Perhaps the suite under the bridge might interest you: we have a special discount going this week.  The continental breakfast will require a bit of social engineering, for you will have to steal the bread. 


M Scott Eiland's picture

Osama bin Laden thought he had valid grievances, too. Even that Austrian prison author felt self-righteous about all he did.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

It's great to see someone defend the full majesty of


Godwin's Law.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Ahh Cuddly's Law


It reads "The smart money is that 'Godwin's Law' will be called at least once on any Forvm open thread."

So it is written, so it is done.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

Reminds me of Jordan's Law which says


that if you can make up a law that describes something people often do, you can win almost any argument.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

The reading of the Litany of Grievance


and the faux outrage from the Usual Suspects - your grievance about Obama and Bill Ayers is not one whit different than OBL's grievance about KSA's connivance with the infidel USA.   Hoover's FBI was completely out  of control in the 1960s, riddled with agents provocateurs.  The Vietnam War was waged on the basis of a pack of lies and all its opponents became the targets of a police state.  Go down to the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, the Reflecting Pool, the Wall is down there just to the north.  It's a massive monument to the greatest lie America ever told itself. Bill Ayers didn't kill anyone, unlike the US government, which managed to get tens of thousands of men killed and wounded, fighting a completely unnecessary war.  


You want to blame Obama for a friendship with Bill Ayers?  Feel free.  The City of Chicago thinks he's a great guy.  I don't think he's a great guy.  I don't even think Barack Obama is a particularly good guy.  But don't fall prey to Hoover's old lies about the Weather Underground.  If they sinned, the opponents of the Vietnam War were greatly sinned against and the courts threw out the charges against Bill Ayers. 


But the police state eventually won.  The PATRIOT Act proves the bipartisan idiocy of America when it's confronted by a threat of any size.  It always overreacts.   We now live in a police state the likes of which J Edgar Hoover could only wish for in his wildest masturbatory fantasy.  And you're worried about Bill Ayers setting off a bomb in the Pentagon?  OBL set off another one, a really big one, full of people.  America's reaction was to invade Iraq.  Who's going to prosecute the authors and sponsors of that Shock and Aw-Sh!t campaign?  Any ideas?

Who's stealing all this money from America's families?


No, you see, catchy, increased productivity comes from


capital investment: therefore the owners of said capital deserve to pocket any and all gains from its use. Employees should be content to stick with 1980s-era levels of compensation for the foreseeable future, while a handful of citizens siphon off the enormous gains wrought by technological change.


Never mind the fact that more and more workers are required to have self-financed (or increasingly debt-financed) the mandatory degrees required to operate said capital improvements. Also never mind the fact that many of those productivity-enhancing capital improvements were originally financed by taxpayers.  


Really, now that I think about it, shouldn't the average worker's wages be reduced to their pre-industrial value? Why move to Galt's Gulch when you can just reduce 90% of the labor force to their pre-technological state of mere subsistence right here in the real world? I'm really sick of people feeling entitled to the benefits of industrialization even when they themselves are not personally innovators and patent holders.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Mission Accomplished


The Hobby Lobby Supreme Court case is in oral argument Tues


My prediction is we'll get to read about a majority of conservative guys more worried about the religious rights of religious business owners than the rights of working women to enjoy equal protection under the law.


It's telling that the ACLU doesn't support Hobby Lobby, even though it was a vigorous supporter of Citizens United. They claim business owners' religious sensibilities don't justify exemptions from general rules, especially anti-discrimination rules, governing commercial activity.

Turkey shoots down Syrian aircraft


Via Reuters



"A Syrian plane violated our airspace," Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan told an election rally of his supporters in northwest Turkey.




"Our F-16s took off and hit this plane. Why? Because if you violate my airspace, our slap after this will be hard,"

Gazprom Moves With Obscene a Thought on Iraq



...I really was curious where the maritime boundaries are going to be drawn. Further, this demonstrates that, unlike the stupid Americans in Iraq, the every bright Russians know how to make their imperialism pay!...


As a deeper philosophic issue, would Iraq have turned out better had the United States been clearly exploitative with regard to Iraqi oil paying for our war efforts?


This could have been an actual Humanitarian issue in that the Iraqi's, seeing their national patrimony being plundered, would have been very eager to get along with one another, side stepping the sectarian violence, in service of seeing the Americans gone.


Sometimes it pays to think outside the box.


Best Wishes, Traveller

Gazprom proposes to develop Crimea’s oil and gas

Gazprom has requested permission from the Crimean authorities to develop oil and gas fields, Crimea's first Deputy Prime Minister Rustam Temirgaliev said Tuesday.


"Of course, Gazprom was the first to approach us with a proposal," RIA news quotes Temirgaliev.


The Crimea is one of the largest regions in the Black Sea in terms of production of oil and gas. “It extracts now about 1.5 billion cubic meters of gas a year" Temirgaliev remarked. In 2013 production increased by 40 percent due to the opening up of the Odessa and Stormovoe fields on a shelf of the Black Sea.


"The Crimea as part of the Kerch area has one of the largest oil and gas deposits in the Black Sea region, according to geological surveys," the first Deputy Prime Minister of the Crimea added.


Earlier the chairman of the Supreme Council of the Crimea Vladimir Konstantinov said that the role of exploration and production of oil and gas in the Crimea should be given to Russian companies. It was then reported that gas inventories in the Glebovsky gas storage are in the west of the Crimea would last the peninsula a year.


Sunday's Crimea referendum showed 96.77 percent of participants voted for the republic to become part of the Russian Federation. On Monday the parliament of Crimea made the decision to transition Ukrainian state assets located in the territory of the republic, including the subsoil, to Crimean control.


Best Wishes, Traveller

Difference between Crimea and Iraq:


Crimeans as a whole don't see it as gross exploitation to give Russia first dibs on their mineral exports. Crimea is more like Russia's Texas.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

The story of Iraq's oil gets very weird.


Iraq's oil had been nationalised on a de-facto basis for many years, since the 70s.  Kinda still is, if you don't look too hard at Iraq's complete failure to control the north, build pipelines or ports or refineries.  Iraq was the test case:  one thing Bush and Cheney and their advisors knew was the oil bidnis and they were sure they could make it all work.  But they also wanted to get the hell out of Iraq and that meant empowering the Iraqi regime.  The Americans wanted influence, sure, but they didn't want to run Iraq.  The only lever of power in Iraq is control of the oil.  A host of Stupid Persons of the Liberal Persuasion said Iraq was a war for oil.  It wasn't.  Oil doesn't magically come out of the ground, transport itself to a tanker and into a refinery and down to your local gas station.


Nor will the Crimean fields be any less problematic, politically.  The Oil Magicians, the teams which come in to develop these fields, they won't put a half-billion dollar rig into contested water.  The Iran-Iraq War convinced everyone not to develop in a war zone and Nigeria has only put the frosting on that cake.  When political trouble arises, oil prices rise.  Iraq can't develop its huge onshore fields while political trouble is brewing, how much less can Russia develop offshore fields, where the costs are prohibitively higher.  Russia can't sell the gas it does produce, it's flaring off a good deal of it.  While Europe is a large market, it's a finite market and as Russia's tundra defrosts, it's exhaling millions of tons of methane a day. 


Russia's imperialism is entirely overrated.  America knew it couldn't stabilise Iraq without handing back the Oil Ministry to the Iraqis.  That's why we put so much stake in seizing it intact at the beginning of the war.  Yesterday I said something about financiers only wanting to talk to people who can sign contracts.  The USA has no interest in running Iraq and signing for those useless religious maniacs.  Let Russia see if anyone will develop those fields.  Gazprom and Lukoil's rigs are otherwise occupied.  Might add in passing, for all the Chinese saber rattling and baring-of-teeth, they're not going to be able to develop fields in the South China Sea if they don't start smiling and shaking hands and getting an already-nervous (and gas-glutted) industry to commit to Working Oil 'n Gas Magic so all those cars 'n tractors 'n suchlike can get down the road.



Meet "Scott", cuhl young Republican.


Over here.  What an embarrassing bit of chicanery. 

And Meet "Alex" In The Bargain

M Scott Eiland's picture

If smug was rocket fuel, he'd have enough to get him to Mars by breakfast.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

The only hypergolic fuel in this hot mess


is the stuff some pitch man pumped up Reince Priebus' patoot.  Oh to have been a fly on the wall when that turkey was storyboarded. 


I was about thirty when I realised I was no longer capable of interacting with teenagers and early 20-somethings, as a peer.  It was disconcerting, because I didn't look as old as I was, back then, and didn't fit in with my own age group.  Some people my own age had babies, I already had a seven year old.  Granted, she was a package deal with my wife, but I found myself in a new phase of life and really didn't like it.  Too old to be cool anymore, too young to be respected as an adult.  A second adolescence, almost.  I did have two more kids of my own, but this odd interval in my life, where I didn't fit in anywhere, really disturbed me. 


As my kids got older, I stayed out of meddling in their lives as much as I could, none of this I'm Your Dad and You'll Do as I Say business.  But I saw parents who did.  Everyone has a different parenting style.  Those parents came in for a good deal of mocking when they tried to be cool, so did their ultra-obedient children when they aped their parents.  Young Fogeys I called them then.


I did find other parents like myself as I got older.  Curiously, my kids talked to them and their kids talked to me.  It's no less bewildering to be a 20-something than any other age.  But there's nothing sadder than some "Scott" and his insincere prattling about energy policy.  It's like Zappa's comment "Is that a real poncho or a Sears poncho?" 



Who. Is.


He talking to off camera left?

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Reince Priebus holding the cue cards.


A few more vlinkies


Vlinkie Uno

Vlinkie Dos

His Career Has Been Memorable, If Nothing Else

M Scott Eiland's picture

And in fairness, a lot of the downside was created by epic incompetence in how Jets' management handled his situation, including bringing a whole new order of magnitude of irrationality into the situation by signing Tim Tebow just after signing Sanchez to a big money contract. None of this excuses Sanchez's own manifest failures as a starting quarterback--but ultimately, Jets' management is responsible for the utter dumpster fire that the team has become, not Sanchez (or Tebow, obviously).

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).


HankP's picture

Coaches tend to be really good at defense or really good at offense, but very very rarely good at both. Ryan has always been good at defense but indifferent to poor at offense.


Not to mention the NYC sports media. They really are relentless, if you're a hero or a goat there's just 24x7 saturation coverage of how good/bad you are. I've never seen anything like it in any other major city.


I blame it all on the Internet

The strange case of Mark Sanchez

HankP's picture

golden boy his first two years, ultimate goat the next three. It will be interesting to see how he does at a team that has some reasonable offensive talent on the o-line and receiving corps. Not to mention somewhere that doesn't have the ridiculous sports journalism that the NYC area has.


I blame it all on the Internet



In olden days a glimpse of stocking
Was looked on as something shocking,
But now, God knows,
Anything Goes.


1. Where are the new boundaries drawn between Ukraine and Russia? One unstated reason for the Russian move was to keep control of energy flows.


See here:


Shell withdraws from Ukraine deal near Crimea
Mar 19 2014, 14:23 ET


Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A -0.5%) says it pulled out of negotiations over an offshore exploration agreement in the Black Sea west of Crimea in January.

The Ukrainian government announced the deal in 2012, but a Shell spokesman says the company still hadn't signed the agreement at the time it pulled out in January, while adding that Shell is still pursuing other Ukraine projects.
Shell was part of a group of companies including Exxon Mobil (XOM) that struck a deal with the Ukrainian government to develop the Skifska oil and gas field.


What major oil company will take the risk of helping Ukraine under these circumstances?


Map of Energy Reserves to be Developed below.




How does Ukraine develop its own energy reserves...if in seizing the Crimea, has Russia foreclosed this possibility? Energy Policy and potential/actual....blackmail/social bribery always being in Russia's foreign policy thoughts and actions.



I know the reality of Communist Eastern Europe better than most...and understood the...well, the social sickness as well as the social benefits.


Time has moved on...I no longer can enjoy a rowboat in a park lake in Weimar in the Deutsche Demokratische Republik, in the East...far away from the pressures of frantic money making West Berlin, and West Germany. Because I was a stranger and because I didn't have to live there, I always enjoyed East Germany.


But, regarding Eastern Europe, at least in regards to Romania where I more or less lived for a can one describe the shock of understanding that people, all houses, all businesses, everywhere did not have individual hot water heaters, or even heat, it was nowhere or anywhere in Hunedoara, Romania, the steel producing town in Transylvania nestled in the Carpathian mountains, Romania.


Everywhere were snaking large heating pipes swathed in falling off layers of insulation, delivering from a central plant both hot water and heat to all of the 90,000 residents. How strange, how cold were the 5 month winters and when heat went out...we all suffered.


But there was the excitement when the window opened at 6:30am and the free bread was passed out hot and steaming to the lined-up people crowding around the central bakery....there is no more free bread, but there is also no more talking and jostling in lines and the social leveling that this automatically produced. Christmas was a joy, at least a little in part because everyone was poor. There was no gift giving like in the West, there was only family crowding around a small table with a grease cloth on top, sharing small snacks, alcohol both legitimate and dangerously home made. There was caroling in the cold nights, invitations to come in by old people a little lonely and glad for a moment of company...Christmas was poor but happy, and meaningful. The best Christmas's I ever had.


And there always was the booming in the night, shock waves from steel being forged and hot fires to be seen as spent coke was just poured down a growing rubble hillside. All of it was an ecological disaster and all of it is shut down now, empty and broken huge factory windows...are sad reminders of the time that was.


Then there were the Ruins of Prague, and further afield, the same with Bratislava and Bucherest, though Budapest was a little better maintained. But Prague, that perfect jewel of a city was a wreck in the early 1990's; who would believe it seeing the city now...or the vastly improved farming techniques across the plains of Hungary?


The world has changed, in some ways monumentally...for the better. The question is how can Ukraine now raise its Per Capita Income from $7,295 to Poland's $20,562, considering that both countries are very similar, are geographic neighbors and started pretty much at the same place, just one went European the other remained in the maw of Russia. Now, howver, even breakaway Slovakia has a PCI of $24,142.


This is what the revolution was about...and how can Ukraine achieve similar general wealth and well being and upping of life spans to those in the West?

And speaking of Revolutions, the really smart question what degree do radicals "need," to be at the vanguard of the overturning of outdated social institutions? Can revolutions ever be successful without some fringe elements?


Cromwell's New Model Army, the Committee for Public Safety and Robespierre, once in power but with a ghastly end, his jaw shot away and led to the Guillotine screaming in agony. This is not to mention the Bolshevik's themselves in Russia.


A socio-historical Doctoral Thesis awaits to be written on the subject.



All I can do is wish Ukraine well with the Herculean tasks in trying to find true independence.


But it would be better & easier if Russia hadn't stolen all its potential energy fields.




Think About That


Ukraine announced the agreement in 2012.


By Jan 2014, Shell hadn't actually signed it, and walked away. This at a time when most oil companies have trouble keeping their reserve portfolio from falling.


Translation: The bribes the Ukrainians were asking for were too high.


What major oil company will take the risk of helping Ukraine under these circumstances?


No oil company will help Ukraine now, before, or in the future. Oil companies are not aid organizations. Nor do they "develop" energy fields, they mine fuel. To develop an energy field, build a solar farm. Oil companies are not energy companies. This is just recent rebranding. They are oil companies. And if you want to be technical, they are mining companies. That is how they operate. They identify reserves, grab them, and walk away.


Less oil for Ukraine is just fine. Oil is demonstrably a factor that leads to loss of competitiveness in other parts of the economy. It almost never leads to income distribution, instead fostering wealth concentration. The only exception I can think of is Norway, with its gigantic sovereign wealth fund and extremely low corruption levels. Most countries end up like Venezuela, or at best Holland.


Oil is rarely a blessing, and it is most often a curse. A very bad curse in a high-corruption country such as Ukraine.

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

I Disagree...America, America, God shed his grace on thee...


O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!




It is the vast mineral wealth, the great swaths of available timber, the animal abundance of the Fruited Plain to feed and clothe an ever increasing population...that has made the United States what it is. You can see this as good or bad, but you cannot deny the fact that...among possible options, it is better to have The Fruited Plain than the sand pits of the Sudan.


I will also disagree with your examples....the Dutch Disease is the economic flavor of the month...this is a tendency to note by governments, something to be wary of...but still a good problem to have. As the Wiki entry says in conclusion:


Using data on 118 countries over the period 1970-2007, a study by economists at the University of Cambridge provides evidence that the Dutch disease does not operate in primary commodity-abundant countries.[26] They also show that it is the volatility in commodity prices, rather than abundance per se, that drives the resource curse paradox.


Venezuela is a special case, but considering the grinding poverty from which it came, has oil been that much of a curse? And not having oil has helped Cuba? Columbia seems to be managing....and Brazil for all of it's squandering of its mineral wealth is far better off with it than without.


Governments make bad decisions, people LIKE the fruits of corruption, be they financial or fleshy...this is just something that wise people are aware of....and limit with some humane oriented passion, (that phrasing took me a while to come up with...whew! but it is what I mean.).


Yes, Oil companies are Mining and Extraction Concerns, to be taxed substantially but fairly for the general good. Governments need to get better at this talent, true, but oil and mineral wealth need not have been a detriment to Ukraine....I just think you are wrong that losing mineral wealth is somehow good for a country.


Best Wishes, Traveller

Disagree Completely


A superior intellectual framework made the United States. Governance, Commerce, Industry, Technology. Culture, in other words. Even within the US, the North was well advantaged over the South, and won the Civil War. Did the South lack natural resources? Is that why it lost? Of course not. Does South America lack minerals and forests and all the rest? Then why has it failed for so long?


Culture is the key national asset. Resources are a nice to have.


Resources help, especially when they are not used for export. Obviously it is better to have some oil than none. It's one less thing to send money to other countries for. But to have so much oil you become a large exporter? That's a bad thing 99% of the time.

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

America's great stroke of luck was never to be invaded.


With the exception of the American Civil War, a war which didn't really impact the North much, beyond massive loss of life for a single generation, we've never had to endure the privations exacted by something like WW1 and WW2 as a nation.  the USA didn't so much succeed at anything - as not be destroyed whilst doing it.  Mechanisation and fertiliser allowed the USA to feed and house and clothe all those people.  Wave after wave of immigrants gave the USA a ready-made workforce.  The USA had its own phase of Dutch Disease in the era of cheap gasoline.  Now it's locked into an unsustainable model of building ever more roads and highways for single-occupant vehicles.  Mass transportation was never viewed as a priority.


Oil is a curse.  Spent some time in Bartlesville OK, home of Conoco Phillips.   Osage County is right next door, coterminous with the Osage Reservation.  When oil was found in Osage County, a wave of murders swept through the community.  When oil money starts sloshing around, people die.  Governments either cope with the influx of great wealth (KSA and Norway) or they don't (everywhere else, including the USA).  Problem with these huge sovereign wealth funds comes down to planning.  Wiser governments invest wisely, stupider governments don't.  Not all these investments are wise.  KSA has plowed huge sums into troubled projects, Norway simply hasn't done much with its money at all, yet, parking most of it in foreign investments to avoid boiling their own economy.  But it's still led to huge wage increases and concomitant inflation -- and to Dutch Disease


Norway and KSA have done as much right as can be done, economically.  Both were well-advised at the very beginning.  Others were not, case in point, Nigeria.  Though Nigeria has abundant oil reserves, nobody wants to deal with these corrupt governments.  Even the oil industry, willing to go to the ends of the earth and the bottom of the seas, is increasingly unwilling to deal with corrupt and unstable regimes.   They've evolved, too.

what do you mean "we", kemo sabe?


the entirety of north american history is one of subjugation and exploitation, of both man and nature alike.

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

Where has this not been true, Tonto?


Any examples come to mind?

you missed my point


whether or not this land was ever invaded depends on your perspective. 

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

I did state "as a nation" as a qualifier.


As for the native peoples of what would become the United States, specifically excluded from my premise, they were perpetually at war with each other.   Their perpetual warlike state meant they never industrialised, never built a single road, never smelted iron, never mastered a writing system, didn't build ships, didn't interact with other cultures.  Now nobody's more appalled than I am by the USA's treatment of the native peoples we found here but I would like to enter into evidence that they were also slave cultures and the Cherokee took their slaves west with them into Oklahoma.    Now the Cherokee have disowned the descendants of their former slaves, saying they aren't actually Cherokee. 


Rousseau gave us the concept of the Noble Savage.  He never met one goddamn inhabitant of North America.  These are actual people, with all the besetting sins of everyone else.  Best not to get too worked up about my single use of "we" to describe the American people, especially when I made my point abundantly clear:  America succeeded rather in spite of itself by virtue of not having been pounded to rubble in world wars.

A Curse? We Disagree...


...this is like the people that win the Lottery and go on to destroy their lives. Need this have been thus? Could they have turned this to a positive good as other people have?


We always look at the outliers....but they are Outliers. Nigeria, like absolutely most of Sub-Saharan Africa is F****ed up beyond belief...this has little to do with oil and more to do with a rampantly negative self-created history.


The majority of people that win the lottery....handle this with varying degrees of happy success.


Oil is like Sin, our constant companion...use her wisely.


Raised eyebrows.


Best Wishes, Traveller

The consequences of success are not less significant


than those of failure.  It's a question of coping.  An oil field doesn't mean you're wealthy.  Oil requires a huge build-out, it's like putting something on orbit.  Thousands, tens of thousands of outside people injected into that situation.  Boom towns are not nice places and financial districts are worse.  Don't go into either without a platoon of experienced fighters and they will cost you plenty. 


It's just a pile of money until it translates into something meaningful, as surely as orders you can't fill are as bad as a book of empty order slips.   Financiers only talk to people entitled to sign contracts.  Who has the right to sign contracts?  Unless those signers trust their fighters, unless they can hold their piss and do the right thing for everyone, not just themselves, the whole enterprise becomes a curse.


People and nations survive curses but very seldom do they survive continued success.  Success is more complex than failure.  Where failure comes to an end, success is an ongoing thing, liable to go sideways at any point in time.  Success isn't merely getting the rocket off the ground, it's getting back alive. 

+1. nt

mmghosh's picture


freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

Should have been a full diary


Romania and East Germany - business or pleasure?


Didn't realize how many gas fields were in Crimea. 

How Very Odd

M Scott Eiland's picture

Our thoroughly objective and so *not* left of center biased media has claimed that embracing junk science in the name of political agendas was a *conservative* trait. How very odd to see this, then. Go figure.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

To have junk science you need science

HankP's picture

as far as I can tell this is just a request for a study. Which would lead to real science.


I blame it all on the Internet

When Devin Nunes (R-CA 22) blames CA's water shortage


on the delta smelt fish in the San Joaquin river, this is GOP Science hard at work.  No questions about that.

Like I said, Gaza.


An arid zone far from any significant river is not a reasonable place for a major city.  


Someday I'll post the story of my time as Watermaster of a colonia.

Is it anything like "Heart of Darkness"? nt

HankP's picture


I blame it all on the Internet

The cruelty was real but unintentional -nt



That Sounds Like an Interesting Story, eeyn...


....let's hear it.


Colonia (plural coloniae) was originally a Roman Empire outpost established in conquered territory to secure it. Eventually, however, the term came to denote the highest status of Roman city.


Best Wishes, Traveller

Well, to be fair, Blaise.....

Jay C's picture

... Rep. Nunes isn't exactly blaming the State's actual shortages on the Delta Smelt: just  indulging in the time-honored GOP tactic of trying to shift blame for some environment-related negative (for his constituents) onto a convenient scapegoat: in this case, supposed overconcern for a "three-inch baitfish" vs. the livelihood of the farmers in his district - and if you see where CA-22 is located, his interest in the matter will become apparent.


To be honest, I can fully see and understand where Mr. Nunes' concern comes from: even if his gripe is couched in hugely oversimplified terms. California's recent drought*, and its negative effect on the state's water supply is a hugely complex issue: especially given the huge importance of CA's agricultural sector both for its own economy, and for the food supply of the nation as a whole. And not to mention sectional/regional water demands, demands of industry and/or households vs. agriculture, environmental ramifications, etc.


California's water problem is a manifold disaster-in-the-making: true, but reducing it to simpleminded slogans like "fish vs. farmers" doesn't help the underlying problem. But then again, what Republican "solutions" ever really do?




*aggravated, no doubt, by the global climate change that most Republicans steadfastly deny exists -

"The smelt strike again" - in bold, red type on his website.


Devin Nunes knows who the villains are: the delta smelt and those who would try to prevent the San Joaquin from turning into another Colorado River which never reaches the sea anymore.  He's among the worst of the climate deniers. 


The best thing anyone could do for California is build a massive nuclear desalinisation plant.  But while the California Democrats like Barbara Boxer continue to be such unscientific idiots and oppose the construction of proper nuclear power plants, I propose to let nature take its course and reduce Southern California to a vast, intemperate wasteland.  Charge them the actual retail value of water, they'll get the point immediately.

Is a nuclear power plant in an earthquake zone

mmghosh's picture

an entirely Good Idea?


On a side note, one of the major natural phenomena I wanted to see in the USA 2 years was the disappearance of the Colorado River, so we tracked it a long way in the South West.  Truly amazing to see a river's water being so totally used - probably one of mankind's greatest engineering feats, although Florida comes close too.  And now the Arctic.


Apparently over 50% of China's rivers from 40 years on are completely dry (I'll dig out the reference).  The Indus delta is going, too.

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

Is anything in an earthquake zone a good idea?


The entire SF Bay area of California is a monument to stupidity.  Look at the Kanto Plain in Japan, same story.  The problems of nuclear power are well understood and reactors can be engineered safely, even in earthquake zones.  The greatest hurdle to implementing nuclear power is scientific illiteracy.  Most people have no idea of the nature of radiation, or even that they are constantly bombarded with it all their lives.  We can date once-living things using carbon-14 precisely because of this principle.


There really is no talking sense to these people.  On one side, we have the climate change deniers and those who think protecting other life forms and their habitats is stupid.  On the other, we have another species of Luddite, those who would oppose nuclear power with the full understanding there are no working alternatives to reliable power and potable water generation.  The first group is by far the worst:  for them, protecting the Spotted Filth Crab is the stupidest thing in the world.  The other side wants to protect the Filth Crab but condones the burning of billions of tons of coal and petroleum and natural gas, simply because they will NOT come to terms with nuclear power.   Neither side has a monopoly on idiocy. 

I'll take a stab at nuclear powered desalinisation plant

mmghosh's picture

it seems to me very vulnerable to a few years of good rain filling the reservoirs, which would drive down the price of non-desalinated water.  After all, a few years of good rain is possible even in a BAU emissions scenario.  


It seems a huge financial risk.  A simpler solution - there's tons of water around the Great Lakes.  Why not simply relocate there?

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

The stats aren't on your side. California has been drying out


for quite some time.   At any rate, the existing water model for LA and by extension, all of Southern California, is based on rain and snowfall a thousand miles away.  Lake Mead is drying out.  The water table has dropped substantially due to rampant waste and lack of regulation:  along with Texas, California lacks effective groundwater regulation


Southern California won't move east to the Great Lakes.  Desalinisation works elsewhere:  it's not that terrible an imposition, considering the practical realities on the ground and the current costs of transporting all that water from elsewhere.  Where it can get water, California produces much of our foodstuff.  No good reason why we can't start in with desalinisation efforts.  Though we think of California as a Big Blue State, out beyond the cities, California is a surprisingly Republican state.  Let's not forget this is the state that gave us Ronald Reagan and Darrell Issa. 


California wouldn't have to put the proposed reactor anywhere near the edge of the tectonic plate, if they played their cards right and used corrosion-resistant PVC / HDPE piping to get the seawater to the plant.  The bigbig deal is the San Joaquin River, which drains the Central Valley, some of the best farmland in the nation.  And it's the San Joaquin River which is the source of all this controversy.  Anyone who came in saying they could raise the level of the San Joaquin from the headwaters and replenish the groundwater would be treated like Jesus Christ returned in power and glory. 

It Probably Doesn't Matter

M Scott Eiland's picture

Even if the nuclear power Luddites were somehow thwarted, some Earth First! type would probably block the facility for decades claiming that desalinating all that water was going to endanger the spotted filth crab or something and demand fifty years of environmental impact reports to prove otherwise.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Given the history of nuclear power

HankP's picture

being against it is anything but Luddite. It may be theoretically possible to engineer, build and operate a safe nuclear power plant, but the nuclear industry has shown that they at least are not capable of it. Not to mention the enormous subsidies and freedom from liability they need to survive.


The Navy has an excellent record, but unless you have the Navy operate nuclear plants or create a "Nuclear Corps" with Navy like discipline we'll keep having "incidents".


I blame it all on the Internet

Thing about the Navy: the nuclear engineers who run


those reactors also tend to *live* in close vicinity to them, along with all their shipmates, in a giant iron can in the middle of the ocean. Maybe if we forced power plant engineers to move with their families to <1km from the plants they work on. And energy company CEOs. And state legislators, governors and members of Congress...

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

If we could only get them to live downwind of coal-fired plants


which emit more radiation, mercury and other nasty molecules, billions of tons of them, than will ever be emitted from Fukushima and Chernobyl. 

Emitted into the air


or into steel flasks that have to be entombed in concrete for 10,000 years?

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Doesn't have to be entombed


if it's recycled.  That's where we really need to come to terms with the scope and magnitude of the dangers posed by nuclear technology.  We're acutely aware of the dangers of coal and petroleum but for all the hoopla about wind and solar, current technology does not support reliable power generation.  Which isn't to say we can't improve these technologies, we can.  And where we can, we ought to apply them. We have also improved nuclear power technologies.  No other power source is capable of producing reliable power without increasing CO2 emissions. 


But power consumption is projected to greatly rise, especially in the developing countries.  Compounding the problem, we must do something with our current nuclear waste.  When petroleum was first distilled, the market product was kerosene.  The more volatile fractions were flared off.  Dangerous, explosive stuff.  They called it gasoline.  Well, we don't like plutonium for the same reasons these days.  Too explosive.  That has to change, as surely as the metallurgy improved to support the internal combustion engine, reactors can and will change. 


At any rate, we will be stuck with the consequences of all our petroleum and coal burning for the next ten thousand years, too. TANSTAAFL

Others around here may know more about the details


but there are basically three axes of consideration in nuclear power reactor technology. 


1.  How much bomb-grade material (and long-lived waste) does it produce?  Can any of this be recycled?

2.  How big is the plant?  It is easier, cheaper and safer to build and operate many smaller reactors than a handful of big reactors.

3.  Which technology is used to cool the reactor?  Modern reactor designs differ widely in this regard.


One of the more interesting designs to emerge, EM2 reuses existing "spent" fuel.  Similarly, WAMSR uses spent fuel. The old light water reactors were terribly inefficient, basically burning the bark off the log.  We'd then then pull the still-burning log from the fire and stack it outside in an un-firewood pile.  If only to reduce our existing stocks of "spent" fuel, we should build reactors to consume it:  the military has a fair bit of this nuclear waste to consume as well.  WAMSR and EM2 ought to appeal to everyone, especially those who are concerned about the long-term spent fuel storage issues.  These technologies are  not without  their shortcomings:  EM2 runs very hot and produces plutonium.  But I am sick of hearing about plutonium production.  In a world where the chief danger is posed by large quantities of spent fuel lying round, the less of it, the better.  The very idea that we're only using 1 percent of the existing power potential of our existing fuel, stacking the rest in the un-woodpile, ought to concern everyone.  We've got to do something with the spent fuel:  it will also save us from having to deal with unpleasant dictatorships to get more fuel for existing plants. 

That addresses the first point, engineering

HankP's picture

nobody wants to address the second part, building (including liability waivers and subsidies) and operation (where the "lowest paid workers we can get" option doesn't lead to safely operated plants). Until someone addresses these, nuclear power will never be successful.


I blame it all on the Internet

I contend our energy policy is a national security issue.


Seen from any angle, I believe this viewpoint is valid.  As such, your point is an important consideration: we simply cannot trust the energy firms any more.  They have proven untrustworthy at every turn.  The US Navy trains nuclear techs and runs its own reactors safely and proficiently.  Only they should be trusted with this sort of responsibility. 

It would help things if San Onofre hadn't been such a botch


Billions spent, built by Inspector Clouseau Construction aka Bechtel - where have I heard that name before ? - built in exactly the wrong place, the litany of stupidity is very long. 


Nuclear needs regulation.  Give it all to the US Navy.  They have the discipline and the regulations and the standards and the security to handle these facilities.  These stupid power companies do not.  It's a matter of national security.  Existing US energy policy is madness. 

Which is why

HankP's picture

if we had a Congress that wasn't controlled by a bunch of god-bothering lunatics we'd be building a giant West Coast water tunnel from BC to SoCal and maybe even into Mexico. The problem is only going to get worse.



I blame it all on the Internet

Easier said than done, Hank

Jay C's picture

I'll put it a little more nicely than Scott did (not hard) - but the scope of a project along the lines of "a giant West Coast water tunnel from BC to SoCal and maybe even into Mexico"  would be an engineering project of unprecedented scale - and an expense of time and money that can only be imagined (you, maybe: I can't).


By way of comparison, check out the schedule it took to build New York Water Tunnel No. 3 : just 60 or so miles long (about the distance from the northern edge of the San Fernando Valley to about midway across the Mojave Desert) - and feeding from a watershed with more, (and way more reliable) resources than anything within (?) 200 miles of the L.A. area) - that project was started in 1970 - and still isn't in service - and won't be til 2020 - a fifty-year project.


Now I realize the circumstances are quite different between the two regions, but I think the notion that a Giant Water Project, even if technically feasible, would solve any problem in a short-enough time to be of any use is a pipe dream. And California needs to deal with it's water shortages NOW.


Long-term? No question about it: CA's water needs have to be forecast and planned for: I read a study somewhere a couple of years ago about the State of California having commissioned population-growth studies that showed a projected population in 2020 of about 30 million people - IOW, short of reality by about 25% - and even at the time (mid-1990s?) they felt the State's infrastructure was inadequate. And it hasn't gotten better.



SoCal's current drinking water supply


is a case study in dirty deals and technical insufficiency.  SoCal must finally address its own water problems.  That entire society is predicated on a set of dodgy water contracts, gross malfeasance and a failure to face facts. 

Of course it's a huge undertaking

HankP's picture

but I'm afraid that a bunch of major cities in the southwest will discover rather too late that expensive water is better than no water at all.


I blame it all on the Internet

Given That. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .this project did not happen when:

--Democrats controlled both houses of Congress and had Obama in the White House, and;

--Obama was desperately looking for a project to shovel cash into that would be popular, and a new source of water for SoCal would be about as popular a project as imaginable for multiple reasons that should obvious to anyone familiar with the history of water rights in the West;

I find your claim a bit asinine.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Thank you for admitting

HankP's picture

that Republicans would never even consider making such an investment in our country.


I blame it all on the Internet

I Admitted No Such Thing

M Scott Eiland's picture

I merely established that the Democrats had not--and never even proposed it when they had the power to put it forward, making the claim doubly asinine.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

No, that's the clear implication in your statement

HankP's picture

only Democrats would even consider such a project. Which is true, and why we've seen severe reductions not only in capital projects but also in maintenance under Republican administrations at the federal and state level.


Republicans have only one response to any non-military spending - "too expensive, can't afford it".


I blame it all on the Internet

What's the GOP solution? The existing water is insufficient.


Devin Nunes is just another climate change denier and flat earther, completely in denial about the form and substance of SoCal's water problems.  We have already established the GOP doesn't care about consequences:  the Spotted Filth Crab crack demonstrates a complete dichotomy between cause and effect in their thinking.  There is no more ground water to pull and the land is actually sinking.


Is there any hope these folks will see reason?  They never do, not in time they don't.  That's a hallmark of denial and delusion, it's the hallmark of man himself.  We will see a bunch of California farmers moving east, a sorta reverse Grapes of Wrath scenario, some GOP Tom Joad, prisoners of their own thinking.


Some of the owner men were kind because they hated what they had to do, and some of them were angry because they hated to be cruel, and some of them were cold because they had long ago found that one could not be an owner unless one were cold. And all of them were caught in something larger than themselves. Some of them hated the mathematics that drove them, and some were afraid, and some worshiped the mathematics because it provided a refuge from thought and from feeling. If a bank or a finance company owned the land, the owner man said, The Bank - or the Company - needs - wants - insists - must have - as though the Bank or the Company were a monster, with thought and feeling, which had ensnared them. These last would take no responsibility for the banks or the companies because they were men and slaves, while the banks were machines and masters all at the same time. Some of the owner men were a little proud to be slaves to such cold and powerful masters. The owner men sat in the cars and explained. You know the land is poor. You've scrabbled at it long enough, God knows.

For such as Devin Nunes, a farmer's kid who really should know better, there's no water in the ground, no grand water project afoot in his thinking.  Just so much bad math and wishing things would be as they once were.  You know the land is dry.  You pumped out all the water, you scrabbled at it long enough, GOP.  God knows.  God also knows Devin Nunes is either an scoundrel or an idiot.  I can't figure out which.

The Water's Always Been Scarce

M Scott Eiland's picture

And Republicans could get behind a pipeline and/or desalination just as easily as Democrats could--the main issue would probably be the source of the funding and who got to build it. And--as you pointed out--the environmentalists are as likely to get in the way of a new source of water as they are to the current zero sum situation, and far less justifiably.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

I think that in general you overestimate the power and clout


of environmentalists. Their greatest success was in blocking nukes, and the only reason that happened was because nuclear power is already really, really expensive and so isn't actually all that remunerative. When it came to fracking, i.e., something where there was real money to be made, the petrochemical industry was able to swat them aside with barely a second thought.

In general conservatives overestimate the power and clout


of labor unions, the black panthers, ACORN, liberal academics, death panels, environmentalists, feminists, the IRS, etc.


Conservatism is about inhabiting a world in which those who hold little to no power are nevertheless to blame for society's ills.

Oh Catchy. Those little darter fish are worse than the


Rabbit of Caerbannog.  If only you'd see the danger posed by those horrible fish with their nasty, big, pointy teeth, you too would be on the right side of the facts. 

The funding issue is a non-starter.


While I accept the facetiousness of your Filth Crab analogy, I've tried to be fair in criticising all the unscientific nonsense in this picture.  The California State Water System is a titanic mess.  The groundwater situation is untenable.  To say water has always been scarce is true - but doesn't address the historical facts of how SoCal got the water to create these vast boondoggular cities where cities simply should not be.  The environmentalists were right.  Once the groundwater was pumped out, the land did subside, exactly as they predicted.   The California GOP literally grew up as a culture on these groundwater farms and orchards.  Once the groundwater is gone, their reason for existence is gone.  A harsher man would wish they would all die in a fire, but that is exactly what will happen to them.  Completely artificial world they created with that groundwater.


I recommend the GOP approach to everything:  make people pay retail value for water and go for nuclear powered desalinisation.  It's the only part of the ecological debate the GOP has right, might as well preach it.  CA already funds its water supply with short term paper.  Let's not pretend Devin Nunes and the GOP can continue on their present course, damning the darter and scoffing at those whose predictions all came true. 

Why ?


Are the smelt drinking all the water?

Feelthy smelt, hogging up our precious bodily fluids, etc.


Besides, we need all that water for fracking.

Why is this "junk science'?

Jay C's picture

And, AFAICT, the only "political agenda" being pushed on a nationwide basis, is an attempt by those companies engaged in, and profiting from, hydraulic fracturing: said agenda being (as is usual when corporate activities run up against environmental issues) blanket assurances that "everything is perfectly safe", coupled with unsubtle denigration of any critics - usually charges of "junk science" - whether justified or not.


That said, it probably IS unlikely (though nor impossible) that fracking activities in West L.A. specifically caused the Encino quake: but regardless, in a seismically active region like Southern California, it would certainly pay to look into the issue thoroughly.


Unless, Scott, you ARE making the argument that fracking is harmless/benign?  

For The Reason That Jordan And Blaise. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . . (and you) acknowledged in passing while poking at fracking--there is zero evidence associating fracking with *this* sort of earthquake, and opposed to (yes, relatively benign) microquakes. Lucy Jones at CalTech--who has been the local earthquake expert since I was in high school--was politely saying "this is bu****it" in her reaction to the councilidiots, and I tend to follow her lead here.

And yes, "junk science" is a very valid accusation to direct at parties who make wild accusations with little actual evidence. The history of lawsuits against silicone breast implants certainly comes to mind here, as does the mass celebrity fueled hysteria over Alar.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

The article doesn't point to accusations.


That's what's puzzling me about your posture. 

That isn't "junk science."


There's next to zero evidence related to deep-well fracking at all, and zero reason to think that deeper faults are somehow immune to the processes that trigger drilling-related microquakes. I don't know how deep the fracking wells are, and that might be enough to rule out an induced earthquake on its own, or it might not.  


There is no established science on this question.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

The USGS seismologist quoted says induced earthquakes


are a thing, however they are generally much shallower than the Encino quake.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Fracking does cause microquakes. Part of the fracking process


is following these acoustic signals.  Water and sand are displacing the gas and oil, the simple physics are obvious enough: that's why they're using sand, to pry open the deposit.  Lots of chemical processes produce waste water which is injected into deep wells.  These also produce microquakes.  This has been understood for many years: in 1966, the Rocky Mountain Arsenal deep injection well produced earthquakes and the well was shut down. 


The junk science part, if there is any, would be a bunch of unscientific councilmen concluding that a large earthquake was set in motion by fracking, especially on the multitude of fault lines criss-crossing Los Angeles.  But large earthquakes are preceded by microquakes.  While I don't think anyone can definitively demonstrate a causal connection, these councilmen and only asking if there is such a connection, an entirely reasonable request. 


Every morning I see the frack sand trains headed west.  And that's just from the Augusta mine. 

Prediction: 6.22 million Obamacare signups by March 31.


That's not my prediction, it comes from Charles Gaba, uberwonk and statistician whose site is now the gold standard for counting enrollments. 


That doesn't include the 4.45-6.04M Medicaid/CHIP expansion coverage, and the 2.50-3.10M under 26, for a current grand total of 11.7-15.3M covered under the law.  


Not bad for a catastrophic failure.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes


Bird Dog's picture

Gaba will predict sign-ups but not enrollments and not the number going from uninsured to insured, which will likely be less than a million. Hoo Ah!!

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

"likely be less than a million"


including medicaid?


Bird Dog's picture


"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Paid vs. unpaid enrollments.




"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

No such thing...

Bird Dog's picture an "unpaid enrollment". That would be a sign-up. And he's overestimating enrollments anyway, especially for those previously uninsured (link).

  • Previously uninsured respondents accounted for 27 percent of February respondents who reported having selected a new 2014 product (i.e., insured who switched and previously uninsured who enrolled), up from 11 percent in earlier surveys.
  • In total, 10 percent of all previously uninsured February respondents said that they had enrolled in a product, up from 3 percent in January.
  • More than three-quarters of those who reported having obtained coverage also said they had paid their premium (out of all February respondents who said they had selected a new 2014 product, i.e., insured who switched or uninsured who enrolled). The payment rate was higher among the previously insured (86 percent) than among the previously uninsured (53 percent).


"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Thanks for the semantics lesson. But your own link disagrees


with your attempt to redefine words to suit your argument: 

  • More than three-quarters of those who reported having obtained coverage also said they had paid their premium (out of all February respondents who said they had selected a new 2014 product, i.e., insured who switched or uninsured who enrolled).

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Disagrees how?

Bird Dog's picture

A significantly lower percentage, around 25%, were previously uninsured.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

It calls all sign-ups "enrollments" whether enrollees


have paid a premium or not.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Hence the problem

Bird Dog's picture

In other words, Gaba is redefining words to suit his agenda. Real honest.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

No, that's Amit Bhardwaj, Erica Coe, Jenny Cordina,


and Mahi Rayasam, from your own McKinsey link, but nice try.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes


Bird Dog's picture

The report differentiated between enrollments and sign-ups. Quote: "Each round has included consumers who enrolled in healthcare coverage for 2014 (either on or off exchange), those who have shopped but not yet enrolled, and those who have not yet shopped."

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Wrong, I already quoted the relevant passage, and


I'm done arguing semantics with you.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

It's not semantics

Bird Dog's picture

Because you're trying to say you scored a touchdown when you only reached the 20. Red zone ≠ end zone.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009