Obama won it

The crackup I thought I was seeing in the Obama campaign didn’t happen. I underestimated the ability of the mainstream media to cover for Obama’s weaknesses. We may all have underestimated the effectiveness of ACORN’s vote-fraud machine.

I’m glad we’ve elected a black man president; I’m sorry it’s one who looks quite so much like a sort of latter-day Manchurian Candidate programmed by his hard-left associates to hate his own country.

I hope we don’t all come to regret this day horribly. We can only hope that Obama is a better man than his influences.

UPDATE: At least one response to this post went way over the top. Who ever it was who started spouting about concentration camps… I don’t think there’s any way Obama is that evil. Bill Ayers or whatzisname the firebreathing black pastor Obama threw under the bus might be, but fortunately neither of them got elected. Obama is not a demon; at worst, he’s an idealist who’s been taught to hate his country until it’s made over in the transnational-Left’s image.

Worrying about an Obama administration trashing the economy, reinstituting the grossly misnamed “Fairness Doctrine”, and nationalizing health care is justified. Talk of concentration camps as if they were a near-term prospect isn’t, and I do not welcome that sort of fear-mongering here.

168 thoughts on “Obama won it

  1. im unsubscribing after this post,

    im sorry you are cynical and ready to dismiss this person who has inspired millions of americans to change their country for the better.

    an attitude like this is one of the reasons john mccain is not president.

  2. It seems remarkably unlikely that ACORN could have conjured up 7 million fake voters; I would encourage you to do more research on exactly what the reach of an organization like ACORN was, and what the real story there was.

    As for the rest of your worries, I hope — and am confident — that they’ll will be groundless, although your definition of what “hard left” is may be more in the mainstream of political opinion than most others use of that term would be. Healthcare, yes; taxes on the rich, yes. Gulags and constitution burning, no. I think your guns will be safe, though I don’t think anyone will be arming schoolmasters and airline pilots any time soon.

    Obama has many influences, from what I’ve read: I’d really encourage anyone who seriously thought he was going to lose to step outside their current ones, because I do think those ones are circling the same delusional drain much of the left was during the early Bush years. I was not surprised, but still a little amazed when readers of Little Green Footballs, for instance, were predicting a McCain win 80-20 a day or so out from the election, when anyone who had dispassionately done the math on the polls would have seen that McCain had a very slim chance to win today. And for all of those who were amazed by what the “MSM” had covered up with Obama, you should compare notes with those who were aghast at how fond the media was of Bush for many, many months during the early part of the Iraq war.

    The day you read only what one sub-culture has to say, and throw all the others angrily against the wall, instead of stepping aside and critically examining both your favourites and your demons, is the day that everyday predictions start going awry. And its our power to predict that demonstrates how well our models are working, ultimately.

  3. Quick someone call a doctor, we have a severe case of Fox-newsitis on our hands!

  4. I try to be relatively centrist, and from what I’ve absorbed of this election, blaming the media and ACORN is a cop-out, an excuse. Palin dragged everything down – the media may be partly to blame, but factually incorrect answers to questions from third graders doesn’t help. McCain’s messages were mixed in the past few months (Obama pals with terrorists, but its not important, but we should know the full extent of the relationship, but he’s a fine man, etc, etc) and his rallies were sometimes reminiscent of KKK lynchings. The economy tanked, putting a good deal of lower/middle income folks toward Obama. McCain/Palin didn’t win any of the debates according to most polls, Obama’s get-out-the voters seemed far more organized and enthusiastic, and on and on. I admire the guy and happen to think he will make a fine president – and goddammit he’s earned it.

    And please stop with the fear mongering – I used to read this blog with pride, but now you sound bitter, silly, and horribly out of touch.

  5. If the guy you didn’t like lost, nothing better than a good old conspiracy theory.

  6. At least the candidate who won the popular vote is the one going to the White House, unlike the situation in 2000 and 2004, when GWB got there without a majority of Americans supporting him. From what I can tell, voter fraud is equal on both sides, and thus cancels each other out.

    This election came down to one thing: Which party could convince its people to actually get a ballot and cast it. Anyone who argues otherwise is whining. :-)

  7. Eh? GWB won the popular vote in ’04, even if you take the claims of Ohio vote fraud at face value.

    Anyway, looks like prognostication bragging rights go to Nate Silver this time around.

  8. Hi Eric,
    Come on man ! This guy is not as bad as you think. In my opinion, his mottoes are like the thoughts of founders of United Stats . Am I wrong?

  9. Nonsense. The Republicans were simply up against superior opposition this time round.

    Now, let’s hope Obama can justify the hope that the USA and the world has invested in him…

  10. Let’s hope that the Six Degrees of Separation resemblances also mislead. Good luck y’all.

  11. Obama’s victory was overwhelming. It was not ACORN or the liberal media that made it possible, it was George W. Bush. You can’t win a victory this big only with the votes of the “hard left”. The fact is, most Americans, everyday Americans, think the world now is worse than 8 years ago. That was what made it possible for a guy with a foreign-sounding name to win. It’s simple.

  12. That’s rich, but not unexpected.

    But hey, look on the bright side, at least y’all got nice t-shirts.

  13. I wouldn’t blame Governor Palin–she probably dampened the bludgeon.
    Senator McCain blew it completely when he rogered up for the “Paul Wellstone Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act of 2007″, AKA, The Bailout.
    Never show up with a RINO to a Federalism fight.
    @Rene:
    The roots of the issue go far deeper than 8 years, and your repetition of these talking points puts kool-aid marks on your cheeks.
    The real question is whether sufficient interest remains in the Constitution to mount something of a counter-revolution, or whether the slide into Euro-nanny-state-ism is irreversible. Tytler would seem to say ‘yes’.

  14. Yep that’s the real smell of defeat Eric. Nice to see that you have your cliches and conspiracies to fall back on. Why can’t you get over 2008?

  15. Wow, even the Republican bloggers are being much better sports about this than you are. Can’t find in your heart to admit that Obama was the better of the major-party candidates? Or at least, he seemed capable of attracting brilliant campaign strategists who made him look better?

    Either way, the election of Obama is not a result forced by Democratic shenanigans, but a consequence of a tide of unrest in this country that was a long time coming. We saw it back in 2006 when the Democrats took control of Congress; this year they have broadened their lead. The marginalization you predicted for the Democrats back in ’04 is instead happening to the Republicans. Illegal wars, torture, high gas prices while Republicans’ oil buddies’ profits soared, and now an unstable economy will do that.

  16. If those were the only things you underestimated, McCain would probably still have won.

  17. I’m so sorry to hear that you feel that way. The idea that the election was rigged is a bit silly, hope you manage to get over it.

    Ironically enough, A CNN pundit (Alex Castellanos) mentioned your essay “The Cathedral and the Bazaar” during the election coverage (after Obama’s win was announced), drawing comparisons between the open source methodology that you espouse and Obama’s ideas on governance.

    Heh:
    http://www.twitscoop.com/twits/search?q=bazaar

  18. So far as I know, Obama’s notable legislative achievement in the Illinois senate was getting all capital case interrogations and confessions videotaped. This strikes me as a necessary, sensible correction, though I wish it were done for all cases that involve imprisonment. It doesn’t show signs of hating anyone.

    This doesn’t mean he’ll get the economic issues right, but there’s no reason to think McCain would have done better.

  19. C. Smith, I’m a fellow that has no ideological preferences whatsoever regarding economic matters (my own policy is, whatever works is fine by me). So tell me what makes “European nanny-state-ism” inferior to whatever it is you’re proposing? And I don’t know what the hell the Republicans stand for in economic matters these days. It surely isn’t “Free Market,” if there ever was something like “Free Market”.

  20. We’ll see. In some ways, it wouldn’t be suprising to see Obama, having studied and used the hard left, now throw them under the bus and govern as a left-pragmatist; his only real executive experience, at the Harvard law review, suggests this possibility. He might, in other words, turn out to be Bill Clinton with better impulse control.

    Alternately, he could be entirely ineffectual; Carter and JFK are obvious analogues.

    We’ll see. The smoke signal I’m watching for is Sec. Defense; if he keeps Gates on for a while I’ll consider that a very good sign and give him the benefit of the doubt, at least until he starts on some of his madder promises (Fairness Doctrine, card-check unionization).

  21. Really Eric. I can certainly understand that you don’t like Obama, but I thought you’d be able to tell the difference between voter registration fraud and voter fraud. There is zero evidence that Acorn committed vote fraud. Zero. Zilch. Zip. Nada. None. Paid ACORN contractors filling out forms with false names is not the same as actual votes being cast. Mickey Mouse did not show up at the polling booth yesterday.

  22. I doubt that any “voter fraud” had anything to do with Obama’s win. The election was a referendum on the Bush era more than anything else. (One wonders why this referendum couldn’t have happened in 2004…) Obama seems more like a Clintonian centrist, but actually seems to have some impulse control.

    Sarah Palin may have been a Heinlein character on the outside, but when she actually opened her mouth she sounded like a human Markov chain. Palin’s selection also marked the turning point where McCain’s campaign got really nasty. I think that was a major turn-off for a lot of people.

    I saw McCain’s concession speech and thought it was moving and heartfelt. At the debates, he seemed like he was about to tell the kids to get off his lawn, but here he was sober, gracious, and sportsmanlike. Where was this McCain during the campaign? If he had shown this side of himself more often, he might have had a chance of getting my vote.

    The main thing that contributed to McCain’s defeat was McCain.

  23. “Where was this McCain during the campaign? If he had shown this side of himself more often, he might have had a chance of getting my vote.”

    Something frequently stated by conservative bloggers during this campaign was that John McCain didn’t want to win. This being the most effective speech McCain would seem to support that – it’s the first speech in a while that he really wanted to deliver.

    As for Palin dragging the campaign down, my opinion is that is precisely backwards; Palin is all that kept Obama from sweeping 49 states. Her addition to the ticket caused the conservative Republican base to go from “fuck it” to “okay, maybe I can stomach voting for this ticket now” in the span of a single day. The gains caused by McCain picking her far outweighed the loss of the cocktail-party Republican crowd.

  24. I am certainly excited about what an Obama presidency will bring to our beleaguered nation. He is very articulate to be sure, and seemingly has the intellect and composure to be successful in the highest office of the most powerful nation on earth. However, I am a little skeptical about his level of experience, alleged ties to unsavory organizations and religious affiliations. I voted for him, primarily because of bitterness at the incompetence of the Bush administration. I remain disenfranchised with America so far in the 21st Century, and came across a political graphic that does a fairly good job in capturing this sentiment.

    http://www.cafepress.com/usa21stcentury

  25. No matter who you vote for, a politician gets elected. Why the hope? Why the rejoicing? It’s just four more years of blunderbuss interference in the economic affairs of peaceful people. McCain would have been as bad. Barr would have been only slightly better, because there’s no Libertarian congressbeings, so he couldn’t have gotten his refreedoming agenda passed.

  26. Note to the Libertarian Party: run a non-crazy candidate in 2012 and you might actually have a chance of becoming a major party.

  27. It’s just four more years of blunderbuss interference in the economic affairs of peaceful people.

    Except this time peaceful people won’t get waterboarded, or killed in an illegal oil war. So you know, there’s that minor detail.

  28. Ah, of course there had to be someone to bring up the “illegal” “oil” war. Jeff, last time I checked, gas wasn’t under $1 a gallon, so that assertion is prima facie absurd. Also, if you think the war was illegal, then you can’t be reasoned with. Perhaps you’re not familiar with the concept of failing to meet the terms of cease fire.

  29. @Russ Nelson: You didn’t really think Bob Barr was a real big-L Libertarian, did you?

  30. What aspect of the war in Iraq is illegal?

    Please check the violations under the Hussein regime of the UN resolutions regarding the ceasefire from Gulf War I before answering.

    As to the prosecution of the Iraq War, the al-Maliki government has been asking us to leave starting in December of 2009 since 2007, when the surge started. They want their blond American mercenaries out of there, so that nobody will interfere with them performing ethnic cleansing on the Sunnis. They want us out in late 2009, because the last major chunk of US training of the Iraqi army is slated to be done around August of 2009; as it is, US activities have been largely handed off to the Iraqis. As it is, there are already rising corruption problems in the Iraqi Army. Figure the drawdown will take 18 months.

    Obama will be lauded for bringing the troops home, and villified for not doing it on January 21st…and he’ll be following the timetable that was negotiated in 2007 by Shrub.

    My personal bet? Obama is going to try to appease the Koskids on one or two issues, discover there is no appeasement of them, and throw them under the bus before next summer.

    Those attempts are going to be used by the Republicans to try and get back to parity in the Senate. it will take a disaster on the order of the rollout of HillaryCare for the Republicans to take the House.

  31. Favorite quip so far, from another Republican, re the Harper and Obama elections:

    “That’s it, I’m moving to Canada.”

  32. My personal bet? Obama is going to try to appease the Koskids on one or two issues, discover there is no appeasement of them, and throw them under the bus before next summer.

    Can’t say I disagree. The last President to develop a principled policy (in terms of foreign policy and energy) and actually follow his principles, instead of playing triangulation games between the base and the center, was Jimmy Carter. And we threw him under the bus.

    If Obama is half the man Carter was, he will be great. Personally, I don’t think he’s that good.

  33. On the MSM: ESR, isn’t the MSM supposed by the blogosphere to be completely ineffective, irrelevant, etc.? Did this election prove to you that the MSM’s doom is slightly less imminent?

    On ACORN: So, you can’t admit that the Republicans did anything that would make them unpopular among the electorate? You don’t think it has more to do with the economy? Instead it was all a massive fake? This ACORN stuff is the right-wing equivalent of 9/11 troof.

    I’m glad you’re being relatively gracious about Obama’s victory, though. I hope he turns out to be a real civil libertarian as much as you hope he isn’t truly on the hard left.

  34. I imagine another scenario that might limit Obama’s effectiveness. As my home state’s results for Proposition 8,an initiative to ban gay marriage, shows, Obama’s win is not necessarily a progressive mandate. As Clinton did with supporting gays in the military, Obama may find this out the hard way. He may try to implement some liberal policy only to face public outcry which would cause him to back off and stay in the middle of the road.

  35. To the comments on Sarah Palin: in a conversation with my 77-year-old grand-aunt, I suggested that Palin might not be the brightest leader. She immediately erupted in a tirade saying, among other things, that “that woman is dumber than a brick”. My grand-aunt has almost always voted republican. She’s not very informed about the policies or track records of the major parties, but because of her life experience, she is a big believer in individualism and in creating one’s own luck. So she’s always been averse to the democratic ideology, however poor her (or the democrats’) concept of it was. She’s also a protestant christian, but not evangelical and certainly not fundamentalist. To say that Palin didn’t fool her would be an understatement. I have talked to some other republican folks of her generation, who also have a very dim view of Palin. Of course, you can blame all of this on the media if you like. My more than a little racist white grand-aunt and her husband voted for Obama, and that was very much a verdict on both Bush and the McCain/Palin ticket.

    I think there is not much of risk of Obama turning “hard left” all of a sudden. (Where did ESR get the idea anyway?) He received *a lot* of money from Wall Street and has already started putting together an administration that looks a lot like Bill Clinton’s.

  36. Methinks the gentleman doth protest too much.

    I have to say, the second paragraph of this post made me reconsider my previous favorable opinion of your blog.

  37. Eric,

    While I admire you greatly as an engineer, you really are falling barely on this side of conspiracy nut in your political analysis.

  38. I don’t want to sound patronizing, but I recommend Obama’s fans ask ANY East-European immigrant who arrived here before the 90s why he or she would rather vote McCain, despite Mrs. Palin unpreparedness and/or religious right ravings.

    I was born in the late 70s and spent the childhood in the 80s, when a North Korean type Communism ravaged Romania, so I can tell if someone talks bs when it comes to cheap propaganda.

    Now, where should I start?

    1. We, the regime’s subjects KNEW from Kindergarten that the State and the beloved leader would take care of our future carrier by giving us a good job with the government so NOBODY had the right to fail, right?

    This is exactly what Obama’s wife said: “Barack won’t let you fail!”. Remember, she convinced the guy to quit smoking. ;)

    2. But all that should have been simple rhetoric, if only my childhood memories didn’t surface this morning when I saw a bunch of 20 yr- old retards waving a red flag with the hammer and sickle on it on Pennsylvania Avenue.

    It’s sad to see how naive and gullible Americans have become. I’m afraid you just opened Pandora’s box.

  39. I live Rogers Park, which is a fairly good, racially mixed, part of Chicago, adjacent to a nice suburb. When Obama’s victory was proclaimed, there was audible gunfire in the streets in several directions for about five minutes. Doesn’t that make you feel _good_?

    This election turned on three factors:

    1) The blatant favoritism of the MSM for Obama. Even many Democrats and liberals acknowledged it. It was driven, I think by the (correct) perception that the MSM are withering, financially and in audience/readership. This looked very much like their last chance to reassert power – they went “all-in” for Obama, and “sucked out”.

    2) The financial crisis, which appeared to confirm the mass media’s persistent claims of economic disaster (to be blamed on Republicans). IMO for the Democrats to win this election because of the sub-prime mortgage crisis is comparable to an orphan getting clemency for the murder of his parents.

    3) The enormous financial support given to Obama by the unions, billionaires of the Soros ilk, and corporate rent-seekers tied to Democrat programs. And quite possibly illegal donations from abroad – Obama’s campaign deliberately turned off address validation on credit card donations.

    The future is grim. Obama will be at the beck and call of Hollywood, which means draconian IP and “anti-pirating” legislation. “Hate-speech” laws, a new “fairness doctrine”, and Internet regulation will suppress opposing publishing and broadcasting.

    In foreign policy, Obama’s election will be taken as the abject surrender of the “cowboy” United States to the UN-EU-etc establishment. Islamists are no doubt celebrating from Gaza to Waziristan. American concerns about human rights or terrorism will no longer be allowed to get in the way of doing business with Iran or Sudan or Burma.

    Race quotas, or more precisely race spoils, will be re-established on a grand scale. “Black leadership” has for years profited extensively from being given pieces of projects and businesses under the rubric of “minority participation”, or as Dane-geld under threat of accusations and demonstrations. Now those threats will be backed up by the Obama Justice Department. Any large business which does not pay off will be hit with discrimination complaints, civil rights complaints, tax audits, license denials, environmental rulings. State and local governments not under Democrat control will face similar pressure in hiring, promotion, and contracting.

    Police departments everywhere will be the targets of Federal investigations of “brutality” or “profiling” (but only against white officers). The morale of many departments, already weak, will crash and burn. Police are prepared for the risk of combat with armed offenders. What demoralizes them is being lynched afterward by the press, “activists”, and now the Feds. They will simply stop doing anything that poses any risk of being perceived or portrayed as “racist brutality”.

    One thing that will not happen is “socialism”. For much of the Left, it was never about confiscation and redistribution of wealth, and that program was largely abandoned even before the fall of Communism. It was about “social progress”: anti-racism, anti-religion, sexual liberation, being avant-garde. And being the beyond-good-and-evil rulers who remake society.

    I have no expectations of a Republican comeback, If the economy truly tanks, vast numbers will be dependent on explicit relief programs of one sort o r another. Millions of mortgage borrowers will get deals from Obama. The proposed carbon quotas will stifle industry and impose $billions in costs, aggravating the situation. Subsidies and grants for “alternative energy” will waste $billions, and provide pork for the Democrats. I don’t think Obama is genuinely anti-nuclear power – but everyone around him has been reflexively anti-nuclear for 30 years.

    Immense numbers of immigrants will be admitted, and present illegals amnestied – all of them naturalized. This will probably include 1M-3M African refugees. These immigrant communities will be encouraged to become welfare-dependent and provided with government-funded “community organizations” whose staff are all loyal Democrats. Figure 5M to 10M additional Democrat voters.

    The Supreme Court may rule that it is unconstitutional to disfranchise felons, adding millions of Democrat votes. This is certain if Obama gets to shift a seat by replacing Kennedy or Scalia. In that case, also kiss the Second Amendment goodbye: Soros et al have incorporated gun prohibition into the UN’s “human rights protocol”, which will be ratified by the Senate – and then held by the Obamanized SCotuS to override the Constitution.

    In 2000-01, there was a proposeal to “adjust” the Census figures for alleged undercounts of “urban minorities”. This was shot down by Republicans in Congress and then the Bush Administration. In 2010-11, it will go through, shifting House seats and state legislative seats to the Democrats, and also electoral votes.

  40. RIS: Sidestepping the “is Barack socialist?” debate, it’s a lot easier to correct American Socialism than it is to correct religious fanaticism. Religious fanaticism permits no debate – while you’ll have a hard time convincing me that a Harvard Law School graduate will be unresponsive to well-reasoned criticism.

  41. @Rene:
    Sorry if I was brusque. I feel you’re oversimplifying. Dip into some heavy, depressing, well-researched stuff:
    http://fabiusmaximus.wordpress.com/financial-crisis
    If anything, it’s a shame that any president, history making or no, has to be handed such a crap sandwich, but it’s been *decades*, not .8 decade, in the making.

  42. RIS – There is a whole lot of difference between the Soviet-dominated East-European states you remember and modern-day First World welfare states like France and the Scandinavian countries. There is a big difference between my own country Brazil, that has security-net povery-reducing programs, and a country like Venezuela, where Hugo Chavez’s totalitarism has infiltrated most aspects of society. It’s only the Radical Economic Right that equates all of them under the banner of “socialism” (and when you guys say socialism it sounds as if it were some horrible disease or a supernatural demonic entity).

    And what’s more, even if Obama turns out to be a lot more radical than you guys fear, even if he is the Manchurian Candidate Eric fears, I very much doubt he would be able to institute even the microscopic amounts of “socialism” that you see in Brazil or France, much less the really brutal socialism of countries like Venezuela and the erstwhile Soviet satellites. Of course, compared to Bush, Obama would still be a “socialist”, but that is like saying Bill Gates is an athlete only because he is more mobile than Stephen Hawkins…

    There is no major political figure in the US that is truly socialist, and excepting some even bigger economic catastrophe (like something that would cause mass famine or something), I very much doubt the US could ever become socialist. Not in this century anyway. It’s a paranoid fantasy even more far-fetched than the notions of the Liberal Left that Bush could turn the US into a Christian Theocracy.

    David – The funny thing about Proposition 8 is that Obama may have indirectly caused it to pass. An important portion of Obama voters are working class Latinos and Blacks. The only thing they have in common with White Evangelicals is that none of those groups cares much for gays. I don’t see it as the people not giving Obama a progressive mandate, but more a result of the peculiar aspects of this election. You get the Religious Right guys that went to vote for Sarah Palin, plus Latinos and Blacks that may be quite Liberal in most respects but that are still very much immersed in machismo-oriented sub-cultures.

  43. I am so terrified of Obama for my children and family because of his associations with radical university educated killers who have plans to kill tens of millions of Americans in concentration camps. We are very afraid.
    Mary

  44. >kill tens of millions of Americans in concentration camps.

    OK, that’s over the top. I don’t think there’s any way Obama is that evil. Bill Ayers or whatzisname the firebreathing black pastor Obama threw under the bus might be, but fortunately neither of them got elected. Obama is not a demon; at worst, he’s an idealist who’s been taught to hate his country until it’s made over in the transnational-Left’s image.

    Worrying about an Obama administration trashing the economy, reinstituting the grossly misnamed “Fairness Doctrine”, and nationalizing health care is justified. Talk of concentration camps as if they were a near-term prospect isn’t, and I do not welcome that sort of fear-mongering here.

  45. Eric, your claim that Obama hates his country is as preposterous as this lady’s concentration camp fears.

    Seriously, would anyone who hates the USA put himself and his family thru a 2 year election wringer and very likely put his own well-being at risk (in no small part thanks to some of the hateful rhetoric espoused by the ultra- and far-right wing) ? It makes zero sense.

    Seriously, guy, take a deep breath, walk away from the keyboard, take a vacation, stop reading whatever it is you read on the internet. You need a political break *badly*.

  46. > I do not welcome that sort of fear-mongering here.

    It looked to me as if that was sarcastic, but maybe I’m not figuring some people’s paranoia.

  47. R.F.G. : Of course a Harvard educated individual will never ever accept this type of (let’s say extremely devious) Socialism.

    My fears are mainly prompted by the rise of State Capitalism (Russia) and the people’s dismay at good ol’ fashioned Anglo-Saxon Capitalism (which got corrupted by the State lately). I’m not saying Obama is Kim Jong Il jr. but the overall international situation, his policies and, why not, his incipient cult of personality (hell, I just saw a bunch of magazines with his face on the front covers in our office) might be the first domino pieces that fall down..

    Rene: I don’t know about you, but I would be extremely concerned if America (with all its goods, bads, O’Reilly,Glenn Beck, Al Gore, whatever) will start looking and acting more and more like a European country. Socialism and America shouldn’t mix.
    Oh yeah. Please don’t give Sweden as an example of well-applied Socialism. Those guys worked their asses off for a hundred years (http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig6/sanandaji1.html).

  48. RIS – Well, to be blunt, I just don’t believe in “Anglo-Saxon Capitalism” as an automatic force for Good, just as I don’t believe in Socialism as an automatic force for Good. Both viewpoints sound just a little bit religious to me. I think that whatever works is fine. As long as living conditions are adequate and there is individual freedom, I really don’t care if it’s the State or the Market or a combination of both that does the trick.

    Rich – Obama has spoken AGAINST affirmative action more than once. What you’re speaking of is still racism, only against whites, and frankly I don’t think that is Obama’s way. Obama seems to go out of his way to be very moderate in matters of race. Except for that correction, I’d say one man’s paradise is another man’s hell. The “social progress” you speak of with such distrust (anti-racism, anti-religion, sexual liberation, being avant-garde), sounds awesome to me. Bring it on! (Well, I’d like to say also that I’m not really anti-religion, I’m only anti-evangelism. People have a right to believe in whatever they want, as long as they don’t impose their own religious ideas on non-believers like me).

  49. “hate his country until it’s made over in the transnational-Left’s image”

    the “until it’s made over” is the key here, and the part that i find entirely plausible. this is michelle’s “this its the first time i’ve been proud to be an american” (or whatever it was she said). this is all my liberal friends saying that this is the first time they’ve ever taken pride in american politics. huge segments of the left love america only conditionally.

  50. I’m late to the party, but regarding your update… I don’t expect concentration camps under Obama. America’s institutions, traditions and personal freedoms are too resilient to allow them. Worst case, any attempt made would provoke a back-lash, but the left generally is smart enough to take little bites that won’t provoke armed resistance. (They came close with Waco, but they backed off after that. Janet Reno once stated the timing of the final raid was influenced by a fear of outside rescue attempts, which is something I’m amazed wasn’t more widely quoted.)

    I don’t think Obama is evil, or that he would ever set out meaning to implement concentration camps. I do think anyone sufficiently socialist, given power, time and an unwillingness to question their own beliefs, will stumble into tyranny, oppression and purges whether they meant to or not, in the futile process of trying to get their false assumptions to work. But I believe the robustness of the American system will prevent Obama ever getting that far, whether he wished to or not.

  51. The U.S. already has a concentration camp. It’s Guantanamo Bay. American citizens who’ve done nothing wrong, except maybe have the wrong skin color or religion for the last President, have been imprisoned and tortured at the hands of your people. There already is tyranny in America, it already is a police state. YOU MADE IT LIKE THIS.

    Any freedom-loving person would hate what America’s become over the last 8 years. And you’re responsible. You’ve condoned it, you’ve applauded every step of the way. You are complicit as a torturer and a tyrant, because you did everything to help them, nothing to stop it.

    Sadly, you won’t get your turn in the prison cell. The “transnational-Left”, by which I think you’re referring to what I call “civilized people who respect human rights”, don’t do that.

  52. @DaveDelony: thanks for the promise, but Harry Browne was pretty non-crazy and you didn’t vote for him when you had the chance, did you?
    @RickC: he’s certainly MORE libertarian than Obamacain.
    @JimThompson: you’re substituting insult for argumentation. Consider yourself insulted in return, but wouldn’t argumentation be more fun?
    @JeffRead: Had McCain had any chance of winning New York State, I might have voted against him. Instead, I voted my conscience.
    @BobDobbs: no, seriously, Bob Dobbs is worried about nutty ranting?? Paint your own house!

  53. “I think there is not much of risk of Obama turning “hard left” all of a sudden. (Where did ESR get the idea anyway?) He received *a lot* of money from Wall Street and has already started putting together an administration that looks a lot like Bill Clinton’s.”

    Where to start? Obama’s personal ideology *is* hard left to begin with; people are just hoping against hope that he’ll govern to the center. His most enthusiastic supporters in this campaign have been hard left. (“Obama will pay for my gas, Obama will pay for my mortgage if I support him.”) Pelosi *is* hard left, and Reid is hardly better. With a Democratic House and Senate, hard left may be the path of least resistance.

    Its conceivable he’ll be a centrist or moderate leftist, but I just can’t comprehend how anyone can assume that. We just don’t know! We don’t know how he’d like to govern, and we don’t know how quickly he’ll get his feet under himself in his first executive position before Reid, Pelosi and others start pushing their own agendas.

    We do know he was a student of Saul Alinsky, Bill Ayers and Reverend Wright. Conceivably he nodded along for 30 years while remaining a moderate in his heart of hearts, but its much more likely he’s on his own version of the long march through the institutions. In which case, our best hope is that he’s pragmatic and modest about how much he tries to accomplish.

    On Bill Clinton: Alan Greenspan asserts, and I have not seen Clinton or any of his people deny, that Greenspan had to practically blackmail Clinton with the fiscal realities of the US to get Clinton to agree to a measure of fiscal discipline. And, of course, the Dems lost the House in ’94, which gave us six years of divided government. I’m willing to credit Clinton with pragmatism, but not necessarily with being a moderate or centrist.

    Obama might be a pragmatist also, but anything less than hard left in his sympathies defies the record.

  54. Oh, come on now. You’re just regurgitating Fox News talking points on ACORN. Are you turning into J. Neil Schulman?

    1) ACORN is required by law to turn in all registration forms.

    2) It was registration fraud, not voter fraud. There is a difference. It’s a hell of a lot harder to actually get past the safeguards and vote, based on a fraudulent registration, than it is to fill out a fraudulent registration form. How many people do you think actually bothered to get a fake photo ID corresponding to the fake name just so they could stand in long lines multiple times?

    3) The fraudulent applications submitted by ACORN are dwarfed by traditional GOP voter suppression efforts. Ever hear of Katherine Harris?

  55. RIS: Anglo-Saxon capitalism, on the Reagan-Thatcher model, *is* state capitalism. It depends, among other things, on “intellectual property” laws which play a more protectionist role for TNCs than tariffs did for the old industrial economies.

    It depends on all sorts of state subsidies to the operating costs of big business: 1) subsidies to long-distance distribution, inflated market area and firm size, through the Interstate Highway System and airports; 2) a massive permanent war economy that subsidizes around half of all R&D and absorbs a major portion of the surplus capital and employs a major part of the surplus capacity that are generated by state capitalism’s subsidies to accumulation; 3) differential tax advantages for things like depreciation, R&D, and debt from mergers and acquisitions, which shift taxes almost entirely off of the capital-intensive oligopoly sector, and onto medium-sized, labor-intensive, competitive industries.

    It depends on a national security policy aimed at forcibly guaranteeing access to petroleum.

    It pursues a model of fake “privatization” that actually amounts to looting by corporate insiders (what Joseph Stromberg called “funny auctions”), and leaves the “privatized” services in a web of protective regulation and state subsidy. IOW, it’s corporatism disguised as free market reform.

    It depends on federal preemption of the states’ tort law, undermining what should be a vigorous alternative to the regulatory state.

    The dominant sectors in the global economy, by the way, all rely heavily either on IP (software and entertainment), direct state subsidies (armaments and agribusiness), or both (electronics, biotech, pharma).

    A real free market society would look like something out of Ralph Borsodi or Lewis Mumford.

  56. Website link to someone claiming to be a former Obama insider describing:
    (a) how the Obama campaign sowed dissent amongst the anti-Obama blogosphere
    (b) how Obama campaign co-opted the MSM
    (c) more polls than ever before commissioned by who knows who to saturate the news that Obama is in the lead

    Other websites have hinted out how one can set up a donations webpage that would skirt FEC donation requirements, meeting the letter but not the spirit of the election donation laws. Power of small donations (<$200) given by fictitious people (e.g. DooDadPro) multiplied ($195 x 24 hours x 365 days = $1,694,160).

  57. Eric, your update using witty sarcasm to spoof me has led to a moment of clarity on my part. I realized: I’m scared of all this “change” crap – we need to keep everything the *same.*

    > Worrying about an Obama administration trashing the economy

    You’re right – the financial system is fine now. With Obama in power, it’ll most likely tank after he redistributes wealth. And if that happens, he’ll probably come up with some plan to socialize the banking system.

    > reinstituting the grossly misnamed “Fairness Doctrine”

    Exactly – Obama’s support of net neutrality and statement that the whole fairness doctrine is just a “distraction” will clearly lead to the democratically lead congress sneaking it in as an earmark somewhere.

    > and nationalizing health care is justified.

    Right – McCain’s plan of government checks of up to 5 grand to those without insurance doesn’t smack of socialized health care since it doesn’t *have* to be used for health care.

    > Talk of concentration camps as if they were a near-term prospect isn’t, and I do not welcome that sort of fear-mongering here.

    Exactly. We already have Guantanamo, the current administration planned for this in advance.

    > Obama is not a demon; at worst, he’s an idealist who’s been taught to hate his country until it’s made over in the transnational-Left’s image.

    I have no idea what the hell this means, but since you’ve started to sound like an intellectual pinhead with a superiority complex, you’re probably right.

  58. BTW the most interesting thing is that the youth seems to have quite inflated expectations from Obama. Judging from Reddit, every bit of idealism, the answer every indignation about everything that looks painful or hard through the lenses of the media, is projected into him. Surely they can blame things on a Bush legacy for a while, but after that? What could happen after an Obama disillusionment – more realism and move to the center, or even more radicalism?

  59. > 2) It was registration fraud, not voter fraud. There is a difference.

    Why commit registration fraud if not to enable voter fraud?

    Surely you’re not going to argue that Obama has been funneling millions of dollars to ACORN for years to accomplish nothing. However, thanks for admitting that one of their primary purposes is committing registration fraud. Now we get to discuss what a smart person would expect to get from registration fraud.

  60. Oh for fuck’s sake. Learn the difference between registration fraud and voter fraud.

  61. All this talk of “socialism” and “capitalism” is really a red herring. The one true “-ism” that made America great is pragmatism. Simply we do what works. That means we apply the State where it makes the most sense and the Market where it works, not automatically ASSUME that we have the one true answer to any and all present and future problems. The State carried the USA through the Great Depression, World War 2, and brought a postwar boom until it became time for the Market to clean out its excesses and usher in another era of prosperity until it too hits its excess point. But again reason, not ideology, rules the day. Interestingly, both Obama and McCain seem much less ideological and more adaptable than their supporters and detractors would have us believe, yet that was how the argument was incorrectly framed. America needs to move beyond these McCarthyesque attacks if mainly it reduces rational thinking. So if Obama is “hard left”, what does that make a supporter like folksy, from-the-heartland investor Warren Buffett or voice-of-middle-class-women-everywhere Oprah Winfrey? Neither strike me as Maoists or Stalinists (what most would consider “hard left”), but rather hardworking, pragmatic Americans. Let’s make sure reason, not fear, is the guide that leads us to our conclusion and judgment. We certainly don’t need more of the latter (fear), especially in times like these.

  62. I don’t remember where I heard this, but I read, from a source that my memory thinks is credible (as in, I think from a well-known news site, but I don’t remember), that the purpose of the registration fraud was to fulfill the quotas of the individuals doing the registering. In other words, the people actually asking people to register were judged based on number, and filled out fake registration forms to artificially inflate their own “success”.

  63. For those proclaiming zero evidence of ACORN produced vote fraud, please check out the situation in New Mexico. I concede right now that ACORN may not be directly involved in actually casting the fraudulent votes, and that the votes in question were from primaries. No one has actually checked for absentee ballot fraud in the general election yet, but there is no reason to assume the patterns won’t be similar. Note that a full 1/3 of absentee ballots were invalid. The article claims fraudulent, and I agree in the case of Duran-Duran, but not providing mandatory information is not the same thing.

    That may not constitute strong evidence, but it’s definitely > 0.

  64. Do you have 401k retirement plan? House Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller (D-Cal) is thinking about abolishing them and nationalized it. We already have the great scam that is Social Security. And this super majority Democrat White House/Congress wants to take your retirement choices away from you, because you simply cannot be trusted with your own money.

  65. > the purpose of the registration fraud was to fulfill the quotas of the individuals doing the registering.

    Nice try, but the folks paying for ACORN want their money’s worth. There may be some cheating “the boss”, but in ACORN’s case, registration fraud was the primary result.

    So, either the folks paying for ACORN are extremely stupid, because the vast majority of their money is wasted, or they’re intentionally paying for registration fraud.

    If you’re not going to argue the former, please explain why they’re paying for registration fraud.

  66. What scares me is he didnt do anything in chicago . he voted for everything he was agenst when he did vote 3% of the time . hes a scam just look at his wife health care will mean more $$$ gas will be more and i bet cha more companys will move overseas . just like in chicago

  67. >If you’re not going to argue the former, please explain why they’re paying for registration fraud.

    According to what I heard, it is the former, except replace “extremely stupid” with “trying to catch flies in fishnets”.

    Could someone please link me to their sources of information on ACORN’s fraud?

    I’ve found mine – TIME Magazine, in an issue dated November 3, 2008 (but that I seem to remember receiving earlier), the article “7 Things That Could Go Wrong on Election day”. It can also be found at http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1853246_1853243,00.html – see section 2, “‘Mickey Mouse’ Registrations and Polling-place challenges”.

  68. esr: OK, that’s over the top. I don’t think there’s any way Obama is that evil.

    I suppose a good way of knowing if you’re really, really over the top is when Eric frickin’ Raymond says you’ve gone too far. I mean, wow.

  69. >I suppose a good way of knowing if you’re really, really over the top is when Eric frickin’ Raymond says you’ve gone too far.

    As I commented to A.M. Kuchling last night, anybody who thinks I’m extreme really needs to crack out of the blue-state liberal-media bubble they’re living in. Compared to the teeming millions of actual red-meat conservatives out there in flyover country, I am mild and reasonable. No joke.

  70. Compared to the teeming millions of actual red-meat conservatives out there in flyover country, I am mild and reasonable. No joke.

    One of my biggest concerns is that Eric is actually correct, and Sarah Palin represents a close approximant to the country’s political center of gravity.

    Given where she stands on a variety of issues, that scares the piss out of me.

  71. You are an unreasonable person. and sound like a racist !. Unsubscribe !.

  72. I’m more than prepared to believe that ESR is ‘mild and reasonable’, given what I’ve seen from others.

  73. ESR: Your political views are certainly unique, almost unheard of in the American political mainstream. So technically this makes you an “extremist,” even though you can offer rational arguments for your particular viewpoint. To me, your criticisms of Obama have been more or less reasonable. Look at the paranoid screeds written by bloggers like ColdFury, or the commenter “Mary.” Yikes. Let’s all chill out a little…however liberal Obama turns out to be, he’s only going to be President for a short period of time. As Reagan-Bush-Clinton-Bush and Thatcher-Blair proved, Western politics do not have consistent movement towards the liberal-progressive side. So any damage he might do is hardly going to cause the Fall of Capitalism, Christianity, or America’s status as a world power.

  74. > According to what I heard, it is the former, except replace “extremely stupid” with “trying to catch flies in fishnets”.

    Since there are far more cost-effective ways to get a small number of folks who would otherwise not vote to the polls, I don’t buy the “flies in fishnets” theory.

    They’re spending a lot of money. They’re committing registration fraud on a vast scale. It’s somewhat absurd to argue that registration fraud isn’t part of the plan.

    So, what does massive amounts of registration fraud accomplish?

    And, even if you’re going to argue that the registration fraud is not intended, isn’t it somewhat concerning that it is occurring? Why are you defending it?

    If you’re going to argue that this is one of the “ends justify the means”, I’ll be happy to remind you that the means produce the ends. If fraud is the “best” way to accomplish the ends, how good are the ends?

  75. Matt Lemmons, “Capitalism” and “America’s status as a world power” are doing a pretty good job of doing themselves in. We can hardly call ourselves a power without the energy to back it up. The Russo-Chinese axis is increasingly looking like the probable energy broker of the 21st century.

  76. >We can hardly call ourselves a power without the energy to back it up.

    You had better hope your analysis is wrong. Because if it’s right, and American hegemony is heading down the tubes over energy shortages, the outcome won’t be the U.S. sliding quietly into the dustbin of history; it will be a full-dress American empire, probably beginning with the military conquest of Venezuela. Certainly Hugo Chavez is working hard enough at creating good pretexts for this.

    I’m not saying I approve, mind you. I’m just saying this is how realpolitik works. The second the U.S. government thinks the country is under real survival stress, every “international law” constraint will go out the window, And there is no other nation, or even any conceivable coalition of nations, with the military power to oppose a U.S serious about war-making.

  77. > [T]he outcome won’t be the U.S. sliding quietly into the dustbin of history; it will be a full-dress American empire.

    > The second the U.S. government thinks the country is under real survival stress, every “international law” constraint will go out the window.

    I rather doubt this; even if the US was put under survival stress, it’s debatable whether or not the action taken would be a war of conquest; if it was, there would be enough internal schism about it to weaken the strength of the action enough that a large coalition that could and would form if the US tried to exert global empire would be strong enough to reasonably at least fight to a draw in a full conflict on enemy territory.

    I apologize in advance if I am completely wrong; this is just my first thought on the issue.

  78. Andy, it seems it’s necessary to explain the full situation:

    (All of this is as I understand the Time Magazine article previously linked)

    At one point, there is Barack Obama. Obama was running for President, and one of his strategies was to encourage new voters to vote, under the impression (apparently correct) that they would mostly vote for him.

    At another point, there is ACORN. ACORN is an organization for the purpose of educating minority voters against various disenfranchisement tactics such as the “vote on November 5th” tactic and other less obvious ones.

    At another point, there are ACORN’s employees at the “ground” level. The people who, as I understand but am not quite sure about, are payed by ACORN to go out and register voters. These people are ordinary people at various levels of honesty, who are not directly payed and not at all supervised by Obama, nor by higher-level ACORN organizers. The ground-level employees are apparently payed based on the number of voters registered. (“All measurable goals lead to weasel behavior” – Scott Adams, possibly minorly paraphrased)

    By probabilistic necessity, some ACORN ground-level employees will be corrupt enough to, rather than or in addition to registering real people, register people who do not exist or register people twice. This is individuals, against the direction of ACORN as a whole, saying “I registered X people” when they actually registered less, because their payment is based on number of people registered.

  79. “And there is no other nation, or even any conceivable coalition of nations, with the military power to oppose a U.S serious about war-making.”

    That’s true. The US has only one serious opponent: itself, i.e. internal dissent. But that can be a big one.

    I think one of the reasons Iraq took so long to sort out was internal pressure from those who said it’s an unjust war and should not be waged, or if it is, then very, very humanely. This lowered the efficiency of the whole stuff, as there are always casualties – friendly and civilian ones – and if the public opinion makes decision-makers strongly averse to said casualties it means they will be averse to do the necessary stuff at all. A war that would be hated by the American public opinion much more than the Iraq one would be unwinnable, as it really would be dancing in a straightjacket.

  80. I like reading the Contents section. About half the headings are actual topics about his life, as you might see on Wikipedia, and the rest are one-phrase condensations of the most unintelligent criticisms of him. Funnily enough, it doesn’t actually mention the criticisms ESR has of him, which I think are the most legitimate (2nd Amendment, etc.).

  81. Unsurprising. Anyone looking to maintain the stereotype that conservative are idiots could use Conservapedia as exhibit A. If the entries I’ve looked at are representative it’s a disgraceful botch.

  82. Eric, I’m no longer convinced that the hard right is as influential and powerful and numerous as you imply in your post about teeming millions of red meat conservatives. I think they’re noisy as hell, and in the first 6 years or so of Bush’s administration they were cultivated by Republicans into a formidable power base that seemed unstoppable, but right now there are insiders in the GOP saying that this group isn’t as big as it seemed, now that the moderates and independents lost faith in the Republicans. They’re even saying that the hard right may be a liability, scaring off all the other voters. We may be seeing the start of infighting in the GOP between the neocons that still want to appeal to this base (using Sarah Palin as figurehead), and some old-style politicos that want to turn the GOP towards the center once more.

  83. >We may be seeing the start of infighting in the GOP between the neocons that still want to appeal to this base (using Sarah Palin as figurehead), and some old-style politicos that want to turn the GOP towards the center once more.

    I think your assumptions are wrong, because I think Palin is quite representative of the American center. I say this despite having huge disagreements with her, mind you; but I also know what psephological surveys keep turning up as median positions for the American electorate, and as I have previously noted she sits pretty much square on top of them. Any GOP faction that wants to ignore this does so at its own peril.

    I also don’t think “neocon” is a very meaningful term, but pursuing that would involve me in conservative-movement catfights in which I have no interest at all.

    Finally, I’ll note that I think you are at risk of overinterpreting Obama’s victory. To be blunt about it, I don’t think a white Democrat taking campaign positions as far to the left as his would have had a chance in hell; he got a boost from the race-guilt thing that is unlikely to be replicable. Evidence for this is that the Dems did not do nearly as well in the down-ticket elections as had been expected.

    I’ll put that another way: if public opinion had made as hard a lurch to the left or against Republicans as the liberal commentariat had been wishfully expecting, the Congressional races would have been a bloody massacre and the Democrats would have a filibuster-proof majority right now. No; this was Obama’s win, despite his ideological baggage rather than because of it. If anything, it may be that voters leaned Republican down the ticket to keep him in check.

  84. > Andy, it seems it’s necessary to explain the full situation:

    You’ve got the patronizing bit down, but you’re still failing with the making sense part.

    > At another point, there are ACORN’s employees at the “ground” level. The people who, as I understand but am not quite sure about, are payed by ACORN to go out and register voters. These people are ordinary people at various levels of honesty, who are not directly payed and not at all supervised by Obama, nor by higher-level ACORN organizers. The ground-level employees are apparently payed based on the number of voters registered.

    Note the unfounded assumption that the fraudulent registrations do not result in fraudulent votes.

    However, Obama and like-minded folk are surely aware of what the ground-level folks are doing and continue to pay for it. The biggest observable outcome is fraudulent registrations. Since there are cheaper ways to accomplish the other supposed goals (which aren’t being satisfied), either the fraudulent registrations are important to the folks kicking in the money or they’re stupid.

    Which is it?

  85. Note the unfounded assumption that the fraudulent registrations do not result in fraudulent votes.

    Nope, ESR, it works the other way around. You actually have to prove that fraudulent votes were casted that came from fraudulent registration. Unless you bring up any proof of fraudulent votes, I call bullshit.

  86. >Nope, ESR, it works the other way around.

    The person you are responding to was not me, it was Andy Freeman.

    I agree with him to this extent; it’s silly to think that anyone, Democrat or Republican, would pay people to create fraudulent registrations without expecting to get fraudulent votes out the other end. So I’d say whether or not ACORN succeeded at actual vote fraud, the Obama campaign must have confidently expected and wanted vote fraud out of the deal.

  87. Hi Eric,

    Exhibit A) ACORN registered 1.3 million people to vote. Of these registrations a few thousand turned out to be fraudulent. These fraudulent registrations were the clear result of lazy workers who made up registrations to spare effort. ACORN itself flagged many or all of them itself. Were ACORN intending to throw an election, they would have to intercept all the fraudulent voter registration cards from the postal service and make fake ID for a bunch of agents in order to cast ballots. McCain keynoted an ACORN event in 2006 and praised their efforts.

    B) Jeremiah Wright’s “God Damn America” speech is clearly an expression of frustration about race, even mentioning the Japanese internment in WWII It certainly criticizes the US but in it there is no hint that he’s not patriotic. Wright served nobly as a Marine medic IIRC. (I don’t like the man FWIW.)

    C) Obama’s other problematic association is Bill Ayers. Ayers’ crimes occurred when Obama was eight. For better or for worse (worse, IMO) Ayers is a fixture in the Chicago political scene and happened to live near Obama at one time. Obama would have had to go out of his way to avoid Ayers. The committee upon which they both served was set up by Ronald Reagan’s friend Walter Annenberg,

    You’ll notice that the common thread in the three of these is lots of dark innuendo, but no clear narrative of Obama’s misdeeds.

    D) Sarah Palin pushed legislation to require rape victims to purchase their own rape kits. She’s against abortion in all circumstances. She is the member of a fundamentalist church. Her husband is 1/8 native, not 100%. She couldn’t name a single news source that she reads to Katie Couric. She cited her proximity to Russia as foreign relations cred. She charged $40,000 for clothing for her husband to the RNC and tens of thousands for herself. She spent six years to get an undergraduate degree over four institutions. She was cited for breaking the State Ethics Act in trying to have an ex-brother-in-law fired. She lied flagrantly about not supporting the Bridge to Nowhere. She tried to get a librarian fired for failing to remove a book on Palin’s order. Her husband was the member of the Alaskan Separatist Party until 2002 IIRC. How much more unamerican can one be? She never had a passport until a few years ago and listed a refueling stop in Ireland as part of her international experience. Her handlers rarely let her conduct interviews due to her rank ignorance.

    You’ve spoken well of Palin who is an ignorant, incurious, fundamentalist and call Obama, a man who raised himself from food stamps to Harvard Law Review President and higher with brains and hard work, a Manchurian Candidate. I encourage you to read a fuller spectrum of the news.

    Rancorlessly Yours,
    Sam

  88. The rape-kit rumor has been thoroughly debunked; if you read any news that wasn’t concocted by blatant “a tingle ran up my leg” shills for the Democrats and the Obama campaign, you would know this. It leaves you in a poor position to accuse anyone else.

  89. To rephrase my point about the Manchurian Candidate theory, I’ve heard endless dark rumors about ACORN, Wright, and Ayers, but no coherent narrative. Is he a black nationalist? A socialist? A terrorist? Unless you can provide this narrative you ought to accept the fact that he’s not a Manchurian Candidate.

    The first link from googling “palin rape kit” contains the AP article, “Then-Gov. Tony Knowles said Thursday that Wasilla was unique in the state in charging rape victims for the cost of doing the law enforcement necessary for solving the crime.” But whatever, as you know it wasn’t a central point in my thesis.

    This brings me to a larger point.: you subscribe to the MSM meme: I didn’t know about the rape kit debunking, therefore I read the MSM which has a liberal bias. This is a flawed meme as the MSM is owned by the largest corporations in the world, including arms manufacturers (ABC and Raytheon IIRC). It is absurd that these companies would be liberal sleeper cells.

    If you wish to debunk me, you ought to provide this narrative about how at least one of Wright, ACORN, and Ayers have conspired against the American people via Obama. You do not seemingly contest the fact that Palin’s husband acted supremely unpatriotic at one time.

    Best,
    Sam

  90. Eric, the Democrats have a bigger majority than the Republicans had throughtout the Bush years, correct? And in the Bush years, every Conservative commentator or sympathizer I know kept talking about how the country had turned to the right for good, and how the Democrats were a dying breed.

    Now the Democrats have even better numbers than the Republicans had when “the country had definitely gone to the right”, but now it is just a fluke? How many Senate seats the Democrats have to win to convince you guys that the country is turning away from the right? All 100 of them? But I don’t believe the country is really embracing Liberal values. Rather, there is a rejection of some Conservative agendas, particularly in the areas of foreign policy and economics.

    Even if Bush’s abysmal approval rating is just a “trick” of the omnipotent mainstream media (that many also believed was dying a few years ago) and he really is beloved by everybody except me, then it’s a trick the Republican campaign believed in, because John McCain wanted nothing to do with Bush. He tried his best to distance himself.

    I believe the country never turned to the right as much as people believed in the Bush years, and it isn’t turning as much to the left now either. The majority of the American people is really less ideological than most believe. There were circunstances that made the Republicans the dominant party for a while (mostly 9/11 and Clinton’s sexual scandals) and there are circunstances now that made the Democrats the dominant party (impopularity of the Iraq War and the financial crisis).

  91. >And in the Bush years, every Conservative commentator or sympathizer I know kept talking about how the country had turned to the right for good, and how the Democrats were a dying breed.

    That doesn’t particularly concern me, as I’m neither a Republican nor a conservative and have never made that kind of pro-Bush argument. I do think the Democrats are in a situation of long-term decline driven by demography, ideological exhaustion, and fissures in their coalition, but my reasons for believing that have nothing to do with Republican partisanship.

    >I believe the country never turned to the right as much as people believed in the Bush years, and it isn’t turning as much to the left now either.

    I don’t think we actually disagree about that. The key difference between us might be that I think the long-term baseline of the U.S. electorate’s politics is quite far to the right compared to where the mainstream media would like is to believe it is; the key term here is “preference falsification”.

  92. >If you wish to debunk me, you ought to provide this narrative about how at least one of Wright, ACORN, and Ayers have conspired against the American people via Obama.

    I don’t have one. It’s that any such narrative would be so plausible, given the histories of all involved, that makes me nervous.

    Not that I did not say on my original post, that Obama is a Manchurian candidate; I didn’t assert that because I don’t have the evidence. What makes me nervous it he looks awfully like one — if I were a Communist sleeper agent, or a network of Marxist memebots left behind by the Soviet collapse, and I could program an ideal agent of influence to wreck the Main Enemy’s system from inside, Obama would fit my specifications with micrometric accuracy. With Bill Ayers as his case officer.

    As I’ve said before. I hope by all the gods that my suspicions are groundless. I don’t want this thing to be true and I won’t feel better if it is.

  93. The idea that Obama hates his country is as far as I can tell a mixture of ultraconservative propaganda and his unfortunate associations with Wright and Ayers. If it is in fact true, then one is forced to conclude that he has been living a lie for his entire political life. Which is possible, maybe, but it violates Occam’s razor and I’m not that paranoid.

  94. > Finally, I’ll note that I think you are at risk of overinterpreting Obama’s victory. To be blunt about it, I don’t think a white Democrat taking campaign positions as far to the left as his would have had a chance in hell; he got a boost from the race-guilt thing that is unlikely to be replicable.

    I could just as easily argue the opposite: I’m sure race/religion drove just as many to McCain’s side. In fact, polls suggest Obama’s support would be 6% higher if he were white.

    > Evidence for this is that the Dems did not do nearly as well in the down-ticket elections as had been expected.

    So far the dems have won 2 secretary of state seats, 6 senate seats (with 3 independent/republican seats still in jeopardy) and 20 house seats. That matches quite well to expectations.

  95. > You actually have to prove that fraudulent votes were casted that came from fraudulent registration. Unless you bring up any proof of fraudulent votes, I call bullshit.

    “Call bullshit”? What is this, recess? Nevertheless, you’re wrong.

    Registration is is basically the only check on voting. While there are some ways to detect voting by folks who aren’t registered, it’s basically impossible to catch voting by folks who are. So, any fraudulent registration provides almost risk-free fraudulent voting.

    You’re basically arguing “hey, they paid a lot of money to create a bunch of fraudulent registrations but they’re not going to do anything with them.”

    As to the “only a few thousand” claim, there were more than that in a single Ohio city during a two week period.

  96. > But whatever, as you know it wasn’t a central point in my thesis.

    It was when you thought that it supported your argument.

    Curiously, when the facts change, your position doesn’t.

  97. Andy Freeman — “any fraudulent registration provides almost risk-free fraudulent voting.” It’s expensive though. You have to intercept each registration card in the mail. It would be easier simply to pay people to vote your way. As I stated above, they registered 1.3 million voters with a tiny fraction of fraud, much of which was FLAGGED BY ACORN. Further some portion of those fraudulent registrations were ludicrous, eg “Mickey Mouse”.

    Me: “But whatever, as you know it wasn’t a central point in my thesis.”

    You: “It was when you thought that it supported your argument. Curiously, when the facts change, your position doesn’t.”

    I saw no point in pursuing the one point when the other 14 remained uncontested. I’m willing to assume that Palin did not in fact do this, but not yield an inch on her suitability. it’s a perfectly reasonable position. Your rhetoric is empty.

  98. Eric, at least one demograph that is somewhat Pro-Democrat is growing like crazy: Latinos. But it still could go either way. I think the Democrat economic agenda is more appealing to Latinos, that voted mostly for Obama, but they also are a community with deep Christian values, so there is a way they could vote Republican. The polls also say that dissatisfaction with the War on Terror and such issues is greatest among the young, that also voted Obama massively. I’m not sure the future is so dire for the Democrats. I think the more likely outcome is that neither major party will attain true dominance in our lifetimes.

  99. >I saw no point in pursuing the one point when the other 14 remained uncontested.

    Most of those claims are either factually false or misleading spin on something that’s true but doesn’t mean what you think it does. See http://explorations.chasrmartin.com/2008/09/06/palin-rumors/

    I never thought I’d see the day when the national media would exceed the level of vicious unfairness it reached against Newt Gingrich, but I have now. Guess it shows I’m not cynical enough.

  100. > “any fraudulent registration provides almost risk-free fraudulent voting.” It’s expensive though. You have to intercept each registration card in the mail.

    No you don’t. Most jurisdictions don’t check the card when the person shows up to vote.

    Moreover, you can have lots of registrations sent to a single address.

    > It would be easier simply to pay people to vote your way.

    Curiously, ACORN has been caught doing that as well.

    > As I stated above, they registered 1.3 million voters with a tiny fraction of fraud, much of which was FLAGGED BY ACORN.

    We don’t know that. In fact, what we know suggests that it is wrong.

    ACORN turned in so many registration forms in many places that they couldn’t be checked. In places where ACORN’s registration forms were given the slightest checks, the vast majority were found to be fraudulent.

    In most places, there isn’t much check on registration anyway, so we can’t assume that the ones that made it through were legit.

    > Further some portion of those fraudulent registrations were ludicrous, eg “Mickey Mouse”.

    Clue – names are not grounds for blocking a registration. (There are people named “Mickey Mouse”.)

    On what grounds can a poll worker deny the vote to someone who shows up claiming to be “Mickey Mouse” when “Mickey Mouse” is a registered voter?

  101. Swamping the state and local elections boards is part of the ACORN strategy. Understaffed offices are required by law to try to sort through and validate those mountains of crappy registrations. By creating confusion in the registration processes, ACORN makes it highly likely that legitimate registrations will be denied, or thrown out as the elections boards try to do their jobs. The Democrats can then spin this as ‘voter suppression’, holding up the legitimate voters whose registrations were challenged as ‘proof’ that Republicans are trying to suppress Democrat voters.

    Anyone who makes the claim that fraudulent registrants will be caught by “ID checks” is ignorant to the point where disputation with them is pointless. Very few jurisdictions check ID for voters – again thanks to Democrats screaming about “voter suppression”.

  102. After what GW did to the world economy, even if BHO nationalized your health care _and_ your retirements, he couldn’t do a worse job…

  103. >Eric, at least one demograph that is somewhat Pro-Democrat is growing like crazy: Latinos.

    Don’t count on it. Immigrant groups tend to swing more conservative in their voting patterns as they assimilate. Latinos, who are in a late stage of assimilation now (you can tell this by the fact that their food has gone mainstream) are unlikely to be an exception.

  104. Don’t count on it. Immigrant groups tend to swing more conservative in their voting patterns as they assimilate. Latinos, who are in a late stage of assimilation now (you can tell this by the fact that their food has gone mainstream) are unlikely to be an exception.

    Despite their in-general social conservatism, the Latino demographic swung to the left in the 2008 election.

  105. esr — “Most of those claims are either factually false or misleading spin on something that’s true but doesn’t mean what you think it does. See http://explorations.chasrmartin.com/2008/09/06/palin-rumors/

    I read all 84 assertions on that site. It denied a few (eg the book banning), confirms some (Todd was a Separatist, her belief in creationism), and doesn’t address others (profligate clothing purchases). Tellingly, the site discusses the state trooper firing at length but neglects to mention that she was found to have broken the state ethics law in the matter.

    The Rev. Howard Bess claims that his “Pastor, I’m Gay” was in fact banned by Palin.

    “I never thought I’d see the day when the national media would exceed the level of vicious unfairness it reached against Newt Gingrich, but I have now. Guess it shows I’m not cynical enough.”

    Her creationism, and her husband’s renunciation of the US, in of themselves disqualify her in the eyes of rational people. The site you submitted confirms both of these.

  106. Andy Freeman –

    > any fraudulent registration provides almost risk-free fraudulent voting.” It’s expensive though. You have to intercept each registration card in the mail.

    AF: No you don’t. Most jurisdictions don’t check the card when the person shows up to vote.

    They can and do check registration cards and ID, in fact some states require ID. To be safe you would need fake ID for each fraudulent vote as well.

    > It would be easier simply to pay people to vote your way.

    AF: Curiously, ACORN has been caught doing that as well.

    Utter bollocks.

    > As I stated above, they registered 1.3 million voters with a tiny fraction of fraud, much of which was FLAGGED BY ACORN.

    AF: We don’t know that. In fact, what we know suggests that it is wrong.

    But we DO know that ACORN flagged lots of fraudulent registrations. Do tell us what you know.

    AF: ACORN turned in so many registration forms in many places that they couldn’t be checked. In places where ACORN’s registration forms were given the slightest checks, the vast majority were found to be fraudulent.

    Again, bollocks. If you make more broad assertions without a whiff of evidence or verifiability you will have ceded your legitimacy. Start over.

    > Further some portion of those fraudulent registrations were ludicrous, eg “Mickey Mouse”.

    AF: Clue – names are not grounds for blocking a registration. (There are people named “Mickey Mouse”.) On what grounds can a poll worker deny the vote to someone who shows up claiming to be “Mickey Mouse” when “Mickey Mouse” is a registered voter?

    Clue – vote fraudsters are exceedingly unlikely to fabricate voters with absurd names.

    Bigger Clue – ACORN doesn’t NEED to commit fraud. Almost everyone they register is going to vote Democratic.

    Explain to me why McCain lauded ACORN in a keynote address. Is he too a victim of MSM propaganda?

  107. About ACORN–Looking on its Wikipedia page, there’s nothing there mentioning registration fraud. It’s not a drastically incomplete article, either. If it’s such an important issue, why is it not mentioned on Wikipedia?

    If you’re going to argue that Wikipedia is hopelessly leftist, then you need some actual facts.

  108. > They can and do check registration cards and ID, in fact some states require ID.

    CA doesn’t “check registration cards” – it doesn’t even issue them. Lots of states don’t. CA likewise doesn’t check ID. And, thanks to folks like ACORN, ID includes things like utility bills in many of the states that “check”.

    Not to mention that ACORN sues to invalidate ID requirements.

    >> Curiously, ACORN has been caught [buying votes] as well.

    > Utter bollocks.

    There were lots of cute stories about homeless folk being given cigarettes in return for their votes.

    > If you make more broad assertions without a whiff of evidence or verifiability you will have ceded your legitimacy.

    “And in Lake County, home to the long-depressed steel town of Gary, the bipartisan Elections Board has stopped processing a stack of about 5,000 applications delivered just before the October 6 registration deadline after the first 2,100 turned out to be phony.”

    http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/10/09/acorn.fraud.claims/?iref=hpmostpop

    The registration checks aren’t all that rigourous – there’s no way to verify addresses and the like – so the checks undoubtedly miss many fraudulent registrations.

    “Gleason, citing “the potential of massive voter fraud” nationwide, said ACORN and other groups had submitted 252,595 voter registrations in Philadelphia. There were 57,435 registrations rejected — most of them submitted by ACORN, Gleason said. They had faulty Social Security numbers, incorrect dates of birth, “clearly fraudulent” signatures, addresses that did not exist and duplicate registrations, Gleason said. A man was registered to vote 15 times since the primary, according to Gleason, and some people listed vacant lots as their addresses.”

    http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/breaking/s_592692.html

    Note that thanks to ACORN, Indianapolis has more registered voters than it has folks over the age of 18….

    “A church just next door is the address for around 150 people. More than 250 people claim a homeless outreach center as their home address. Some listed a county mental health facility as their home and one person even wrote down the Harris County Jail at the Sheriff’s Office.”

    http://abclocal.go.com/ktrk/story?section=news/politics&id=6443815

    As to the “bad apples” argument, ACORN staffers report that they were fired if they didn’t produce enough registrations. If the quotas were too high to reach without committing fraud, don’t the folks setting the quotas deserve some of the blame for the fraud?

    > ACORN doesn’t NEED to commit fraud.

    They “need” to commit fraud if the NUMBER of legitimate registrations that they can do isn’t enough to change election results.

    > Almost everyone they register is going to vote Democratic.

    Especially the fraudulent registrations…. That’s the whole point.

    > Explain to me why McCain lauded ACORN in a keynote address.

    Because he’s a clueless dolt.

    BTW – If McCain as an authority that I should believe, you’re accepting him as an authority that you believe….

  109. > Again, bollocks. If you make more broad assertions without a whiff of evidence or verifiability you will have ceded your legitimacy. Start over.

    Interestingly enough, “Sam Spade” hasn’t provided any evidence for hir statements except that Spade thinks that McCain’s positions and beliefs are to be accepted without question.

  110. >any comment on this?

    If all conservatives were as smart and libertarian-minded as O’Rourke, I might be tempted to call myself one.

  111. Eric, the one thing we actually disagree is that I think there is a bigger disconnect between social conservatism and voting Republican. That is because there isn’t necessarily a link between social conservatism and economic conservatism. The archetypical red state joe six-pack may distrust gays, but he also may have little love for Wall Street.

    I’ve seen a “red meat conservative” posting in a message board the other day, saying Obama vs McCain was the battle between an abortionist and a defender of the fat cats, and so America was screwed. I also remember polls that mantained that while mainstream journalists are a lot more socially liberal than the average American, they are to the RIGHT of average Americans in economic matters.

    Particularly, many average Americans distrust corporations, believe that their standars of living are steadly dropping, and wish they had healthcare bankrolled by the fat cats. The financial crisis and Iraq are a more credible explanation for Obama’s victory than any kind of racial ghost or conspiracy.

  112. “All this talk of “socialism” and “capitalism” is really a red herring. The one true “-ism” that made America great is pragmatism. Simply we do what works. That means we apply the State where it makes the most sense and the Market where it works, not automatically ASSUME that we have the one true answer to any and all present and future problems. The State carried the USA through the Great Depression, World War 2, and brought a postwar boom until it became time for the Market to clean out its excesses and usher in another era of prosperity until it too hits its excess point. But again reason, not ideology, rules the day. Interestingly, both Obama and McCain seem much less ideological and more adaptable than their supporters and detractors would have us believe, yet that was how the argument was incorrectly framed. America needs to move beyond these McCarthyesque attacks if mainly it reduces rational thinking. So if Obama is “hard left”, what does that make a supporter like folksy, from-the-heartland investor Warren Buffett or voice-of-middle-class-women-everywhere Oprah Winfrey? Neither strike me as Maoists or Stalinists (what most would consider “hard left”), but rather hardworking, pragmatic Americans. Let’s make sure reason, not fear, is the guide that leads us to our conclusion and judgment. We certainly don’t need more of the latter (fear), especially in times like these.”

    The best statement about this election, ever.

    Very well done, Frosted Flakes!

    After all, if Obama is a “hard left” socialist, then why did Warren Buffett, the world’s most successful capitalist, support him?

  113. The state carried us through the great depression, huh??

    Well I’ve got some news for you: the actions of the state prolonged the great depression and made it worse. Google around if you don’t believe me.

    And why did Buffett support Obama?
    Because these billionaire types are usually guilt ridden leftists.
    Having the state do everything and intrude in our lives more and more is not the product of reason but of emotion.

  114. >Well I’ve got some news for you: the actions of the state prolonged the great depression and made it worse.

    It’s true. Among other things, contracting the money supply during the relatively mild post-1929 downturn was an epic blunder that caused the really bad conditions after about 1932.

  115. Andy –

    AF: “CA doesn’t ‘check registration cards’ – it doesn’t even issue them. Lots of states don’t. CA likewise doesn’t check ID. And, thanks to folks like ACORN, ID includes things like utility bills in many of the states that “check”. Not to mention that ACORN sues to invalidate ID requirements.”

    So CA doesn’t check registration cards. Lots of states do.

    ACORN sues to invalidate ID requirements because these unduly disenfranchise the young, poor, and old, three usually Democratic blocs.

    AF: >> Curiously, ACORN has been caught [buying votes] as well.

    SS: > Utter bollocks.

    AF: There were lots of cute stories about homeless folk being given cigarettes in return for their votes.

    Such rumors don’t justify your assertion that “ACORN has been caught [buying votes] as well.” You must cede to the bollocks young man.

    SS: > If you make more broad assertions without a whiff of evidence or verifiability you will have ceded your legitimacy.

    The CNN link says 2,000 bogus of 5,000 registrations in one precinct; surely that’s bad. ACORN should have better safeguards at least in that precinct, probably more. Again some of the names were dumb like using a restaurant name.

    Your Pittsburgh Tribune link is merely a statement of suspicion from a Republican.

    The third from ABC has, as it’s most sensational charge, “Of the 30,000 registration cards ACORN turned in, [Republican] Bettencourt says just more than 20,000 are valid” Again what I said about CNN.

    Look at this link: http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5jxjAsAV-4bVaxvkleyrVdeKz2cmgD93T13EO0 . There are almost no cases of voter fraud on record, so there’s no evidence that this registration fraud translated to voter fraud.

    AF: As to the “bad apples” argument, ACORN staffers report that they were fired if they didn’t produce enough registrations. If the quotas were too high to reach without committing fraud, don’t the folks setting the quotas deserve some of the blame for the fraud?

    You don’t know that the quotas were too high. Some people are lazy.

    SS: > ACORN doesn’t NEED to commit fraud.

    AF: They “need” to commit fraud if the NUMBER of legitimate registrations that they can do isn’t enough to change election results.

    IIRC 62% of eligible voters voted. There are always plenty more people to register in the US.

    SS: > Explain to me why McCain lauded ACORN in a keynote address.

    AF: Because he’s a clueless dolt. BTW – If McCain as an authority that I should believe, you’re accepting him as an authority that you believe….

    I’d assumed you supported him as you apparently have a problem with ACORN and Obama’s association with them. Again with the flaccid rhetoric?

  116. > ACORN sues to invalidate ID requirements because these unduly disenfranchise the young, poor, and old, three usually Democratic blocs.

    Spade claimed that fraudulent registration didn’t lead to fraudulent voting because of ID checks. Now we find that the ID checks do no such thing.

    > There are almost no cases of voter fraud on record, so there’s no evidence that this registration fraud translated to voter fraud.

    That’s because there’s basically no way to catch voter fraud given successful registration fraud. Spade claims that there is, but the only proposed mechanism, ID checks, doesn’t work, thanks, in no small part, to ACORN.

    If he wants to disagree, he gets to propose mechanisms that actually work AND are acceptable to his ACORN friends.

    Oh, and while we’re at it, how about comparable mechanisms to catch registration fraud. It’s not like the checks there are any good either.

    Prediction – due to concerns about “young, poor, and old”, Spade won’t come up with ANY meaningful checks. (His ACORN buddies have already sued to block requirements to use FREE state-issued IDs.)

    > There are always plenty more people to register in the US.

    You don’t know how they’ll vote. You know how the fraudulently registered will vote.

    > You don’t know that the quotas were too high. Some people are lazy.

    Now Spade is arguing with ACORN workers. However, given the scale, it’s not “some”, but most. And, ACORN keeps hiring the lazy and the funders keep paying to do so.

    The first few years, it’s arguably incompetence. At this point, it’s intent.

    However, I do agree that some folks are lazy. The competent ACORN workers are committing more competent fraud.

    > I’d assumed you supported [McCain] as you apparently have a problem with ACORN and Obama’s association with them. Again with the flaccid rhetoric?

    Yes, that is assumption is another logical fallacy from Spade. The fact that Spade believes that supporting McCain is the only reason to oppose voter fraud tells us a lot about Spade.

    Note that Spade still hasn’t explained why the folks who fund ACORN are willing to do so given the vast amounts of fraudulent registration. They’re either stupid or they’re benefitting from fraudulent registration. Spade insists that the benefit isn’t fraudulent voting, but has yet to come up with another reason why the funders benefit from fraudulent registration.

    Spade’s comment there’s no reason commit fraudulent registration because there are plenty of folks to register merely sharpens the question. Given all that has come out in this thread, why do ACORN’s funders keep paying for fraudulent registration on a massive scale? Spade continues to duck that question.

    BTW – I note the lack of cites supporting Spade’s position. A lack of cites was deemed damning to my position back when neither of us had provided any but now that I have and Spade still hasn’t….

  117. I find Spade’s tendency to tell people how to react to my comments akin to “applause” signs. He knows that his discussion won’t provoke the response that he wants, so he plays out the laugh track.

  118. This group of ACORN I believe receives federal funds.

    Isn’t is great knowing that your tax dollars are going towards cheating you out of your legitimate vote?

  119. AF: Spade claimed that fraudulent registration didn’t lead to fraudulent voting because of ID checks.

    I imagine there was some voter fraud, but it’s an almost unheard of crime, and thus not something to worry much about.

    AF: Now we find that the ID checks do no such thing.

    No we didn’t. From my citation above:

    “By legal definition, to commit voter fraud means a person would have to present some kind of documentation at the polls — a driver’s license, a phone bill or another form of ID — that bears the name of Mickey Mouse, for example. To do so risks a fine and imprisonment under state laws.”

    How many people are going to risk jail time for casting a ballot? Surely some will, but not many. And again, ACORN has very little incentive to promulgate voter fraud — the people they register are mostly Democrats. You say they will run out of registrants, but that’s not the case as less than 2/3 of eligible voters vote.

    AF: … He gets to propose mechanisms that actually work AND are acceptable to his ACORN friends… Prediction – due to concerns about “young, poor, and old”, Spade won’t come up with ANY meaningful checks. (His ACORN buddies have already sued to block requirements to use FREE state-issued IDs.)

    I don’t mind a free national ID. I don’t know or care if ACORN minds this idea.

    AF: Now Spade is arguing with ACORN workers. However, given the scale, it’s not “some”, but most. And, ACORN keeps hiring the lazy and the funders keep paying to do so.

    Arguing with ACORN workers? If they make up registrations they should be fired. Whether ACORN is too demanding on their employees is no affair of mine.

    AF: The competent ACORN workers are committing more competent fraud.

    Give me a single example of ACORN being convicted of voter fraud. Surely in the hundreds of thousands of fraudulent votes they have cast there are at least a few convictions, no?

    AF: Yes, that is assumption is another logical fallacy from Spade. The fact that Spade believes that supporting McCain is the only reason to oppose voter fraud tells us a lot about Spade. The fact that Spade believes that supporting McCain is the only reason to oppose voter fraud tells us a lot about Spade.

    You assumed that I’m a big ACORN fan and not in favor of national ID, and you’re wrong on both counts, Did I score mad points too? Second, you don’t understand what a logical fallacy is. Third, “The fact that Spade believes that supporting McCain is the only reason to oppose voter fraud” is a straw man. I neither implied nor believe this. I’m guessing you knew this but nevertheless intentionally misconstrued my remark to look as though you are scoring points.

    SS: Note that Spade still hasn’t explained why the folks who fund ACORN are willing to do so given the vast amounts of fraudulent registration.

    Your premise is false. ACORN registered 1.3 million people. A reasonable rate of mistakes would be, what, 5%? That ‘s 65,000 fraudulent registrations. Many of these were ridiculous, eg Dallas Cowboys, etc, which clearly do not represent an attempt at fraud. Also ACORN itself submits fraud claims to election officials http://www.acorn.org/index.php?id=17860&tx_irfaq_pi1%5BshowUid%5D=169&tx_irfaq_pi1%5Bback%5D=P2lkPTE3ODYw&cHash=7f04956cb3.

    AF: Spade’s comment there’s no reason commit fraudulent registration because there are plenty of folks to register merely sharpens the question.

    That’s inventive,

    SS: BTW – I note the lack of cites supporting Spade’s position. A lack of cites was deemed damning to my position back when neither of us had provided any but now that I have and Spade still hasn’t….
    I think you mean citations.

    You mean “citations”.

    You do continue to make unverifiable claims like the “stories” of bums voting for cigarattes, even though ballots are private and bums and the least reliable class of people on the planet.

    Do tell me which points you wish to have further support for.

  120. > No we didn’t. From my citation above:

    > “By legal definition, to commit voter fraud means a person would have to present some kind of documentation at the polls — a driver’s license, a phone bill or another form of ID — that bears the name of Mickey Mouse, for example. To do so risks a fine and imprisonment under state laws.”

    Even if we accept a phone bill as ID (it isn’t), ID isn’t required everywhere, and it’s possible to vote without appearing at the polls. Calling something a “legal defintion” doesn’t make it one, as the above demonstrates.

    > I don’t mind a free national ID. I don’t know or care if ACORN minds this idea.

    Hmm. “ACORN sues to invalidate ID requirements because these unduly disenfranchise the young, poor, and old, three usually Democratic blocs.”

    The ID requirements in question were free. Is Spade really hanging his hat on “national”?

    I note that ACORN really wants same-day registration. Combine that with no or not-really ID and …..

    > Whether ACORN is too demanding on their employees is no affair of mine.

    Oh really? “You don’t know that the quotas were too high. Some people are lazy.”

    > Give me a single example of ACORN being convicted of voter fraud.

    We’ve gone over this – once the registration fraud has been committed, it’s almost impossible to detect fraudulent votes. Nice dodge with the request for organizational convictions – it’s just been acorn staffers convicted by the boat load. http://buzzblog.kcstar.com/?q=node/532

    > You assumed that I’m a big ACORN fan

    Since Spade has defended everything they’ve done….

    > Third, “The fact that Spade believes that supporting McCain is the only reason to oppose voter fraud” is a straw man. I neither implied nor believe this.

    Let’s roll tape. “I’d assumed you supported [McCain] as you apparently have a problem with ACORN and Obama’s association with them.”

    > SS: Note that Spade still hasn’t explained why the folks who fund ACORN are willing to do so given the vast amounts of fraudulent registration.

    Umm, no, I/AF wrote that.

    > Your premise is false. ACORN registered 1.3 million people. A reasonable rate of mistakes would be, what, 5%?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/24/us/politics/24acorn.html

    “But it turns out the [1.3 million new voters] claim was a wild exaggeration, and the real number of newly registered voters nationwide is closer to 450,000, Project Vote’s executive director, Michael Slater, said in an interview.”

    “The remainder are registered voters who were changing their address and roughly 400,000 that were rejected by election officials for a variety of reasons, including duplicate registrations, incomplete forms and fraudulent submissions”

    0-2 on numbers. And, even if we assume that ACORN’s “detected fraudulent submissions” number is accurate (if for no other reason than it’s unclear why registrars would tell ACORN), the number is low for reasons that we’ve already gone into.

    > AF: Spade’s comment there’s no reason commit fraudulent registration because there are plenty of folks to register merely sharpens the question.

    > That’s inventive,

    Not at all, unless Spade feels abused by the truth.

    > You mean “citations”.

    At least Spade obeys the internet “law” that every grammar or spelling post contains the same sort of error.

  121. You had better hope your analysis is wrong. Because if it’s right, and American hegemony is heading down the tubes over energy shortages, the outcome won’t be the U.S. sliding quietly into the dustbin of history; it will be a full-dress American empire, probably beginning with the military conquest of Venezuela. Certainly Hugo Chavez is working hard enough at creating good pretexts for this.

    You’re right, but the reign of such empire would be nasty, brutish, and short. The real elephant in the room is the DNA-culling Great Filter in our very near term future. Hint: There are not enough terrestrial resources to support six billion people. Most of them are going to die off, one way or the other.

  122. > After all, if Obama is a “hard left” socialist, then why did Warren Buffett, the world’s most successful capitalist, support him?

    He’s an investor. Buy low, sell high. He’s banking that the inevitable Obama Depression will provide him with all sorts of buy-low opportunities.

  123. AF: Even if we accept a phone bill as ID (it isn’t), ID isn’t required everywhere, and it’s possible to vote without appearing at the polls.

    SS: You have yet to explain why anyone would risk jail for such a small effect. It’s irrational from a risk/reward point of view. This is consistent with the fact that vote fraud is virtually unknown. Your most direct response is that bums are trading their votes for cigarettes, which is so weak as to undercut you. It is moreover consistent for these fake registrations to be the result of lazy employees, or an inadequate organizational structure within ACORN: there’s an incentive to workers to fake registrations, namely to save time. There is no incentive for ACORN to try and submit registrations for Mickey Mouse. There is very little incentive for ACORN to promulgate voter fraud, as in the coarse of their mission they register many more Democrats than Republicans.

    SS > I don’t mind a free national ID. I don’t know or care if ACORN minds this idea.

    AF Hmm. “ACORN sues to invalidate ID requirements because these unduly disenfranchise the young, poor, and old, three usually Democratic blocs.” The ID requirements in question were free. Is Spade really hanging his hat on “national”?

    SS: No. I explained why ACORN would fight against some voting restrictions (such as requiring a driver’s license, as that disenfranchises the poor). If they fought a free national ID as you say, then I differ with them.

    SS > Whether ACORN is too demanding on their employees is no affair of mine.

    AF: Oh really? “You don’t know that the quotas were too high. Some people are lazy.”

    Your mania to catch me in a contradiction is petty and tiresome. It really isn’t my affair if ACORN is too demanding on their employees. I see that as something the market should take care of. And you really don’t know whether ACORN’s unrealistic quotas caused the fraudulent registrations, or if it was employee laziness. There’s not a hint of a contradiction here.

    AF http://buzzblog.kcstar.com/?q=node/532

    Once again that is voter REGISTRATION fraud, not VOTE fraud.

    AF Third, “The fact that Spade believes that supporting McCain is the only reason to oppose voter fraud” is a straw man. I neither implied nor believe this.” Let’s roll tape. “I’d assumed you supported [McCain] as you apparently have a problem with ACORN and Obama’s association with them.”

    SS: Yet another invalid inference. Simply, it doesn’t follow from my assumption “you’re a McCain fan” that I believe “that supporting McCain is the only reason to oppose voter fraud.” I know you don’t understand this, as you have not been educated in logic and lack the inborn skills. You’ll just have to take my word for it.

    AF: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/24/us/politics/24acorn.html “But it turns out the [1.3 million new voters] claim was a wild exaggeration, and the real number of newly registered voters nationwide is closer to 450,000, Project Vote’s executive director, Michael Slater, said in an interview.” … 0-2 on numbers

    SS The article goes on to give the 1.3 million figure again, and goes on to state that 20% of registration problems are duplicates. But it doesn’t matter. If ACORN did a terrible job, fine, they did a terrible job. This article gives not one whiff about voter fraud, which is the one and only thing you need to buttress your claim.

    SS > You mean “citations”.

    AF At least Spade obeys the internet “law” that every grammar or spelling post contains the same sort of error.

    SS: To what error in my post do you refer? Incidentally your error was not grammar or spelling, it was a general and revealing feebleness of vocabulary.

  124. > AF: Even if we accept a phone bill as ID (it isn’t), ID isn’t required everywhere, and it’s possible to vote without appearing at the polls.

    > SS: You have yet to explain why anyone would risk jail for such a small effect. It’s irrational from a risk/reward point of view.

    Since there’s no risk in many cases (if you control a polling place, registration is the only check on the fraud that you can commit) and almost no risk everywhere else, SS is overstating the risk. He also understates the reward. SS clearly believes that there’s adequate reward for registering real voters, but the reward is higher for fraudulent ones because a real voter might not vote or, worse yet, might not vote the right way.

    SS seems to think that a small amount of convictions proves that voter fraud doesn’t exist. His argument is that the “risk” of being caught is high (even though he’s yet to come up with a mechanism that has significant effect) and the punishment significant. We still have murder even though that crime is relatively easy to detect and investigate and the punishment is far more significant.

    Voter fraud convictions are rare because it’s almost impossible to detect. Plus we have an institutional bias against even bringing the charges. If you charge someone who is poor, the sob-sisters (like SS) come out. If you charge someone who likely voted for the loser, there’s a “no harm, no foul” attitude. If you charge someone who likely voted for the winner, you’re challenging the legitimacy of the election.

    > AF Hmm. “ACORN sues to invalidate ID requirements because these unduly disenfranchise the young, poor, and old, three usually Democratic blocs.” The ID requirements in question were free. Is Spade really hanging his hat on “national”?

    > SS: No. I explained why ACORN would fight against some voting restrictions (such as requiring a driver’s license, as that disenfranchises the poor).

    As I pointed out, SS is not telling the truth about the restrictions that ACORN opposes, opposition that SS has endorsed. The laws that ACORN sued to invalidate did not require a driver’s license. Those laws explicitly included free govt ids.

    > If they fought a free national ID as you say, then I differ with them.

    Since ACORN has fought free state IDs, SS is hanging his hat on “national”. (Frankly, he’s also lying about free national IDs as there are certainly circumstances under which he’d object to them. I’ll guess that his objections to free state IDs will turn on some hassle in acquiring them or verification procedures, so I’ll skip ahead and point out that national IDs could well have the same constraints and ask if state vs national changes things.)

    > SS The article goes on to give the 1.3 million figure again, and goes on to state that 20% of registration problems are duplicates. But it doesn’t matter.

    Yes, the article gives a 1.3M figure, but it says that it’s counting something very different from what SS claimed. As to its importance, SS found the number important when he thought that it supported his position. Does SS really believe that the only things that are important are those that support his position?

    I note that SS only mentioned one of his two numbers, the 1.3M registrations attempted. SS also suggested that 5% fraudulent registrations would be acceptable. The fraudulent registration number from ACORN, which almost certainly understates the truth, is around 30%.

    ACORN admits to consistently paying for 30% fraudulent registrations. SS wants to argue that that’s waste, but it’s far more likely that fraudulent registrations provide some benefits to ACORN’s funders. The alternative is that they’re dumb.

    > SS: To what error in my post do you refer? Incidentally your error was not grammar or spelling, it was a general and revealing feebleness of vocabulary.

    I’m referring to SS’s complaint about my use of “cite”. It’s actually correct – pedants lost that argument years ago.

  125. AF: Since there’s no risk in many cases

    It’s impossible to eliminate the risk, there are any number of ways you could reveal your fraud.

    AF: SS clearly believes that there’s adequate reward for registering real voters, but the reward is higher for fraudulent ones because a real voter might not vote or, worse yet, might not vote the right way.

    There is no guarantee that if you pay someone to vote they will vote your way either, so that dog won’t hunt. Also, you are the one who proposed the great cigarette bum fraud. What’s your feeling about this now? Have you quietly changed your mind about the cigarette bums or is that still the main arrow in your quiver?

    AF: SS seems to think that a small amount of convictions proves that voter fraud doesn’t exist.

    Once again you are putting words in my mouth. I’m sure it does exist, though there is no evidence that it is widespread and deserves the attention you want to give it. You wish the absence of evidence of fraud to prove that the polling places are too lax, but the burden of proof is on you. As stated before, there is always the risk of getting caught, so if there were a substantial number of fraudulent votes it’s unavoidable that some of these people would be caught. This goes double for organizational fraud, which entails further risks such as moles and loose lips.

    On the other hand there are constant ploys to disenfranchise voters. My opinion is that this should be priority over speculative conspiracies.

    AF: Plus we have an institutional bias against even bringing the charges. If you charge someone who is poor, the sob-sisters (like SS) come out. If you charge someone who likely voted for the loser, there’s a “no harm, no foul” attitude. If you charge someone who likely voted for the winner, you’re challenging the legitimacy of the election.

    This isn’t just bollocks, it’s nutbaggery.

    AF: SS is not telling the truth about the restrictions that ACORN opposes, opposition that SS has endorsed. The laws that ACORN sued to invalidate did not require a driver’s license. Those laws explicitly included free govt ids.

    SS: I’ve never pretended to know what transpired here. I explained why ACORN WOULD fight against a driver’s license requirement. I don’t know why they would fight against a free national ID. Certainly there are free ID’s that you and I would oppose, such as one that contained overly personal information for instance. On this basis we will mercifully gloss over your national ID rant.

    AF: SS found the number important when he thought that it supported his position.

    My argument holds whether ACORN registered 1.3 million or a half a million voters. You are working yourself into a lather to prove me wrong on any detail, no matter how significant. You haven’t a pot to piss in to support your bias, just a hunch that the vote was riddled with bum fraud.

    AF: SS also suggested that 5% fraudulent registrations would be acceptable. The fraudulent registration number from ACORN, which almost certainly understates the truth, is around 30%.

    5% was a guess, not a guideline. The NYT article you cited said that paid registrants typically turn in 30% rejects, volunteers 20% IIRC. So ACORN was average. You will now offer a convoluted theory involving bums and “sob sisters” that explains why ACORN’s average reject rate is proof of their sinister intentions.

    AF: ACORN admits to consistently paying for 30% fraudulent registrations. SS wants to argue that that’s waste, but it’s far more likely that fraudulent registrations provide some benefits to ACORN’s funders.

    SNAP! There it is! Swear to god I didn’t read ahead. It’s one high note after the next today. The 30% rejected registrations are a sign not of ACORN’s normalcy, but stark evidence that ACORN’s funders are executing a sinister plot. Perhaps they register a few legit voters, but the real action is in smuggling in untaxed cartons of cigarettes with which they ply hundreds of thousands of bums. Their control is so complete that we hear only the faintest rumors. Perhaps they kill the bums after they have fulfilled their mission and sell their carcasses for dog food, we’ll likely never know for sure.

    AF: I’m referring to SS’s complaint about my use of “cite”. It’s actually correct

    It wasn’t a complaint, I was trying to be helpful. And no, it’s not correct: cite is a verb, citation a noun.

  126. I forgot to flag this

    >Exhibit A) ACORN registered 1.3 million people to vote. Of these registrations a few thousand turned out to be fraudulent.

    “a few thousand” turns out to 400k that ACORN admits to.

    >> AF: SS clearly believes that there’s adequate reward for registering real voters, but the reward is higher for fraudulent ones because a real voter might not vote or, worse yet, might not vote the right way.

    > There is no guarantee that if you pay someone to vote they will vote your way either, so that dog won’t hunt.

    There are no guarantees for anything, but plenty of dogs in fact do hunt. If you have a wholesale mechanism, you can vet your mass voters and make defection more unlikely than it is with a retail scheme.

    > You wish the absence of evidence of fraud to prove that the polling places are too lax, but the burden of proof is on you.

    I’ve been to polling places. There’s no meaningful checks. I’ve cast absentee ballots. There’s NO check. (They send a ballot to an address. Someone fills it out and either puts it in the mail or returns it to a box. I’ve returned ballots for other people – there are no checks.)

    > AF: Plus we have an institutional bias against even bringing the [vote fraud] charges. If you charge someone who is poor, the sob-sisters (like SS) come out. If you charge someone who likely voted for the loser, there’s a “no harm, no foul” attitude. If you charge someone who likely voted for the winner, you’re challenging the legitimacy of the election.

    > This isn’t just bollocks, it’s nutbaggery.

    Note that SS doesn’t have a substantive response, just invective.

    > AF: SS is not telling the truth about the restrictions that ACORN opposes, opposition that SS has endorsed. The laws that ACORN sued to invalidate did not require a driver’s license. Those laws explicitly included free govt ids.

    > SS: I’ve never pretended to know what transpired here. I explained why ACORN WOULD fight against a driver’s license requirement.

    Let’s roll tape “ACORN sues to invalidate ID requirements because these unduly disenfranchise the young, poor, and old, three usually Democratic blocs.” Given SS’s belief that a phone bill is ID, it’s somewhat absurd to interpret that sentence as applying only to driver’s licenses. And then there’s the problem that the ID laws that ACORN was fighting had free, not driver’s license, state issued IDs, as I stated early on.

    > The NYT article you cited said that paid registrants typically turn in 30% rejects, volunteers 20% IIRC. So ACORN was average.

    50% more is average?

    Of course, the interesting number isn’t the number of bad registration attempts caught, but the number of successful fraudulent registrations – they’re the ones that can be used to cast fraudulent votes. SS would have been better off arguing that ACORN’s high rate of unsuccessful registrations means that it can’t be a vehicle for voter fraud. (Not that that makes much sense given the numbers we’re working with, but it’s better than what he’s going with.)

    > It wasn’t a complaint, I was trying to be helpful. And no, it’s not correct: cite is a verb, citation a noun.

    Actually, it’s both by common usage.

  127. BTW – The above will likely be my last comment as I’m leaving soon for a couple of weeks in an internet-free zone.

    SS is, of course, free to have the last word.

    As to SS’s concerns about attempts to disenfranchise voters, I note that none of the folks with those concerns support actual measures to disenfranchise ineligible voters. In states that disallow voting by felons, they fight such measures and fight against attempts to keep felons from registering or voting. (This is not to suggest that all possible measures to stop felons from voting are good, but to point out that SS’s side doesn’t even try to produce good ones.)

    Yes, SS claims to support (free?) “national [voting] ID”, but he supported ACORN’s opposition to free state voting IDs. Maybe he didn’t know what they were doing.

    As many folks have noticed, fraudulent voting disenfranchises legit voters.

  128. “He’s an investor. Buy low, sell high. He’s banking that the inevitable Obama Depression will provide him with all sorts of buy-low opportunities.”

    He’s already doing that with the current Bush/Republican/Far right/neo-con/Laissez-faire induced depression. For the past 8 years, it’s been “deregulate, deregulate, give tax breaks to the rich!!!!” Then the inevitable collapse of the mortgage/credit pyramid scheme occurred, and all the right wing idealogues tried desperately to blame Obama and Acorn for suing to allow some targeted mortgages in lower class neighborhoods, back in 98. Nevermind that Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, AIG, mortgage brokers, Wall Street, etc all ran amok after that, due in no small part to deregulation.

    You , and esr (and others) can choose to be idealogues.

    Personally, I choose to be a pragmatist – whatever works. Sometimes the government is too big and and too intrusive, and needs to be scaled back. But other times, deregulation leads to chaos, and government needs to assert itself in order to clean up the mess and bring stability back to the markets. That’s what we need right now, and it did not appear that McCain was going to do it. We’ll see with Obama.

    Also, I’m not interested in the rantings of history revisionists who claim the New Deal prolonged the depression. That’s just more far-right idealology. Bottom line: pre-New deal – no jobs. post-New deal – lots of jobs. Post WWII was the greatest period of prosperity this nation has ever seen – that with New Deal policies very much in place. Of course, later on the fruits of the New Deal got very excessive and caused a bloated welfare state, and needed to be scaled back. That gradually occurred, but then the pendulum swung too far the other way, and we got Bush, and the current mortgage/credit crisis, and deep recession.

    Then people like you try to say “whaah!!!, Obama is going to bring a depression!!!!”. It’s kinda cute, actually.

    But listen, I don’t think Obama is all that and a bag of chips. Quite honestly, I think both he and McCain’s economic platforms are folly, and don’t add up, and will lead to further deficits and increase the national debt. As Obama goes along, he’ll soon discover he simply can’t do everything his platform promises, and he’ll likely adjust. He’s now appointing a bunch of ex-Clinton folks to his cabinet, most of whow were pragmatists. Remember, we ended up with a surplus at the end of Clinton’s time, and government overall got smaller. Also, it was the biggest period of economic growth since the post-WWII era.

    I dislike “true” socialism/communism, and big gubberment ineffiicent excess control everything, as much as the next guy. But I also dislike unregulated, unadultarated capitalism, where the rich rip everyone else off, and the system collapses under it’s own chaos and excesses. I like the middle ground – moderate goverment, helping keep free markets on the right path.

    Whatever works.

  129. >the current Bush/Republican/Far right/neo-con/Laissez-faire induced depression.

    There are no words for how bizarre and divorced from reality this description is.

    If I had a dollar for every page of financial regulation that was in effect over the last 8 years of “laissez-faire”, I could fund a private space program.

  130. “There are no words for how bizarre and divorced from reality this description is.”

    Then explain to me how the credit collapse came about.

    It was a pyramid scheme, really. Mortgage broker sells ridiculous mortgage to ignorant/irresponsible home buyer. Mortgage broker gets upfront commission, and has no worries whether or not the buyer can afford the mortgage. That’s the banks problem. But then again, it isn’t, because the bank turns around and sells the mortgage to hedge funds and Wall street, and gets a percentage. Then the mortgage gets circulated around wall street, with everyone looking for a quick ROI, not worrying whether or not the original buyer can afford the mortgage. Meanwhile the market tanks, buyer is upside down, interest rates went up, and the original buyer can’t afford to make payments. Being that there are tons of this scenario, the whole house of cards collapses.

    The whole thing could have been avoided if the lenders lended responsibly. The same could be said about buyers. It was their responsibility to have an idea of what they could afford. But then again if the bank is saying they could afford the mortgage, the buyer tends to believe them. But the bank knew full well that the buyer was high risk of not affording the mortgage, particularly if rates go up. But they didn’t really care because they could sell off the mortgage on Wall Street, and have it be someone else’s problem, and of course they wanted to make a quick buck. And so went the cycle – a real pyramid scheme.

    My wife and I bought in 2001 before the big spike and subsequent housing bubble. Back then, the bank was very thorough in checking whether or not we could afford to continue make payments on the mortgage. We were both working full time (this was before our kids), and combined we were well into six figures. Yet the bank only approved us for $220,000 (due partially to my past credit problems, but I’ve had perfect credit since).

    During the bubble, banks were approving loans for $450,000 to $500,000 to people with lower incomes and much worse credit ratings than ours, usually variable rate, often interest only. And banks knew full well that most of these people couldn’t afford these mortgages over time. They were just capitalizing on the short term bonanza, ignoring long rang consequences.

    Since banks, and mortgage brokers, and Wall Street would not or could not show any restraint, where was the regulation to prevent all of this nonsense?

    Many conservative pundits have put blame on the Dems and Obama and Acorn for, in 98 (correct me on the date if I’m wrong), suing Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae to open up lending rules to include lower income, inner city first time buyers, so that those folks could get their feet in the home owning door (and subesquently improve their lives). You could argue that was what caused it all. I’ll give that it possibly planted a bad seed. But it certainly didn’t cause the run-amok irresponsibility of banks and Wall Street during the 2005/7 bubble.

    That’s where Laissez-faire causes problems. Sorry, but quite often, free markets can’t, or won’t correct themselves.

    Then I’ll also argue that Bush’s run-amok spending and Iraq war had a lot to do with are current problems.

  131. >Then explain to me how the credit collapse came about.

    None of the plausible theories have to do with an absence of regulation. The CDO crowd was following the regulations quite scrupulously; In fact, the capital-adequacy regulations on banks may have increased the incentives to overinvest in dodgy securities, because they could be carried in a different section of the books than regulators were using to evaluate systemic risk. The regulations were inadequate, not because of laissez fair or right-wing ideology (which are distinct, by the way; I’m pro-laissez-faire but not right-wing), but because it’s basically impossible for regulators to keep up with all the creative ways market-makers can play with derivatives.

    I see you’ve noticed that BCRA was at the root of the problem, but it goes back a decade further than ’98. The rest was bad regulation, and flavors of greed and stupidity that regulation can neither prevent nor mitigate. The blame that doesn’t fall on today’s bankers and CDO peddlers falls, if anywhere, on Bill Clinton for not vetoing the BCRA. Both Bushes were relatively blameless in this.

    Bush’s spending didn’t have much of anything to do with it either. I agree that “run amok” is a good description, though it always amuses me to hear him castigated for overspending by people who clearly think government should be doing more, more, more. But the size of the Federal budget didn’t make bankers any stupider or more prone to fall for CDO hucksters than they were already.

  132. “but because it’s basically impossible for regulators to keep up with all the creative ways market-makers can play with derivatives.”

    So what’s the solution, then? I wish I knew.

    “Bill Clinton for not vetoing the BCRA”

    But the BCRA, at it’s heart, was a good idea. Home ownership is one of the best ways to empower people in the inner cities (or other lower income areas) to “pull themselves up by their own bootstraps”. But under normal lending rules, it’s pretty much impossible for those people to get any kind of loan. Thus with BCRA, it’s okay to give those folks a first time boost, so that they get their foot in the door. Then they can build on their lives from there. That said, BCRA should have been modified, or tightened up, so that the hucksters could not exploit it later on. But, it’s ludicrous to put all blame on Clinton. Clinton did not cause the irresponsible, greedy, free-for-all that ensued later. Partial blame for painting a bad seed I’ll accept. But putting all blame on Clinton not veteoing BCRA is intellecually dishonest.

    “though it always amuses me to hear him castigated for overspending by people who clearly think government should be doing more, more, more. ”

    … which does not include me. I want government to be a lean, mean, firm and fair referee, not a bloated, inefficient overlord. But many conservatives, right wingers, Ayn Rand types, and Libertarians (and I agree with Libertarians often) all tend to go overboard on the “governement is evil” mantra.

    “But the size of the Federal budget didn’t make bankers any stupider or more prone to fall for CDO hucksters than they were already.”

    True. But the government carrying a $10 trillion debt kind of sets a bad precedent, doesn’t it? ;-)

  133. I agree that “run amok” is a good description, though it always amuses me to hear him castigated for overspending by people who clearly think government should be doing more, more, more.

    You haven’t seen Ben Cohen’s oreo cookie presentation, have you? Our defense budget is huge. Another social program here and there is not much to ask compared to the Rethuglys’ bankrolling of the phenomenal war machine. all while cutting taxes. The War on Terra as waged by Shrub is more than just wrong and criminal. It’s pure fiduciary insanity. Remember that a Democratic president (Clinton) balanced the budget, only for Shrub to come along and send us spinning into record deficits again.

  134. >So what’s the solution, then? I wish I knew.

    There isn’t one, not the kind you seem to want. Free markets will have periodic convulsions and speculative bubbles; the least painful way to cope is to let them run their course without trying to politically “fix” things. The problem with political fixes is that they fall into two categories: (1) the kind that backfire and make the current crisis worse, and (2) the kind that create a temporary illusion of policy success at the cost of making the next crisis much worse.

    The only solution is to accept that laissez-faire is sometimes painful, in the knowledge that all the alternatives are provably worse.

    >it’s pretty much impossible for those people to get any kind of loan.

    That’s because they can’t make good on the loan. The only way you can give them loans is if someone else is politically forced to eat those losses. This was a political fix of the second kind. The consequences are unfolding around you now.

    >But putting all blame on Clinton not veteoing BCRA is intellecually dishonest.

    I quote: “The blame that doesn’t fall on today’s bankers and CDO peddlers falls, if anywhere, on Bill Clinton”

    >True. But the government carrying a $10 trillion debt kind of sets a bad precedent, doesn’t it? ;-)

    Deficits now didn’t create bad political decisions in the Clinton administration.

  135. >You haven’t seen Ben Cohen’s oreo cookie presentation, have you?

    I’ve seen it now. It’s disgustingly dishonest.

    Left out is the fact that debt service and middle-class entitlement programs (especially Social Security and Medicare) dwarf even the military budget. Serious cuts in military spending wouldn’t be a bad idea, but they wouldn’t come even close to solving the problem, or deflecting the meteor that’s going to hit the U.S.’s finances along about 2012-2013 when Social Security’s obligations exceed its inflows.

    But no, We can’t talk about the insanity of making the 51% of the U.S. population that pays essentially no taxes on net ever more parasitic on the other 49%. Instead, let’s rant about military spending, booga booga!

    That’s Ben Cohen, forever stuck in 1967. Evidently he’s learned nothing and forgotten nothing.

  136. “The only solution is to accept that laissez-faire is sometimes painful, in the knowledge that all the alternatives are provably worse.”

    Thing is, I don’t think moderate, unobtrusive, regulation, is worse. I think it’s much better. I don’t like either extreme. Laissez-faire is nice in theory, and when markets are strong. But it leads to 80′s S&L crisis, Enron, and the current credit crisis, all of which are largely avoidable with moderate regulation. On the other hand big government socialism constricts businesses and markets.

    I’ll take a sprots analogy. I don’t like it when the referee is involved with everything, disrupting the flow, dominating the action, and generally making the game go like shit. The referee is not the star of the show. But a referee that is too lax, or no referee at all, leads to a game that is complete chaos, has unecessary injuries, and is like watching MMA or WWF (freak shows), as opposed to a skilled, exciting, respectable sport.

    I’m just talking a balanced middle. I don’t want an extreme laissez-faire of Libertarians, nor do I want big bloated government of the Democrats – and nowadays the Republicans! ;-)

  137. >Thing is, I don’t think moderate, unobtrusive, regulation, is worse.

    You are, unfortunately for all of us, wrong. Look up the phrases “deadweight loss” and “regulatory capture” to find out why. Better yet, read David Friedman’s “Price Theory” or the popularized version “Hidden Order: The Economics of Everyday Life.”

    I did not use the adjective “provably” casually. If you get to the point where you understand both Coase’s Theorem and Hayek’s calculation problem you’ll get how provable it is.

  138. As time permits I’ll look up those things (books/papers).

    I can be swayed by reasonable, non-inflammatory arguments, unlike hardcore partisan zealots. And you arugments have been pretty reasonable, apart from your inflammatory “Obama is evil” rant to start this whole thing off.

  139. From Wikipedia:

    In economics, a deadweight loss (also known as excess burden or allocative inefficiency) is a loss of economic efficiency that can occur when equilibrium for a good or service is not Pareto optimal. In other words, either people who would have more marginal benefit than marginal cost are not buying the good or service or people who would have more marginal cost than marginal benefit are buying the product.

    Causes of deadweight loss can include monopoly pricing (see artificial scarcity), externalities, taxes or subsidies (Case and Fair, 1999: 442), and binding price ceilings or floors. The term deadweight loss may also be referred to as the “excess burden of monopoly” or the “excess burden of taxation”.

    That sounds like just the sort of thing good regulation can help prevent! Ya know, anti-trust rules to stop/curb monopolies like Microsoft, and help maintain a competitive environment!

    And, Eric, your writings, blogs, books, etc, are not too kind to the MS monopoly. So I think we’re actually in agreement!

    Also from Wikipedia:

    Regulatory capture is a term used to refer to situations in which a government regulatory agency created to act in the public interest instead acts in favor of the commercial or special interests that dominate in the industry or sector it is charged with regulating.

    For public choice theorists, regulatory capture occurs because groups or individuals with a high-stakes interest in the outcome of policy or regulatory decisions can be expected to focus their resources and energies in attempting to gain the policy outcomes they prefer, while members of the public, each with only a tiny individual stake in the outcome, will ignore it altogether. When this imbalance of focused resources devoted to a particular policy outcome is successful at “capturing” influence with the staff or commission members of a regulatory agency so that the preferred policy outcomes of the special interest are implemented, then regulatory capture has occurred.

    That’s what I would call bad regulation, that what serves only the interest of wealthy special interests, not the general public. But it does demonstrate the double-edged sword that is governement regulation.

  140. > That’s what I would call bad regulation, that what serves only the interest of wealthy special interests, not the general public.

    It’s not just “wealthy special interests”, it’s anyone with the time to dominate the regulator’s attention. Such as unions.

    > Thing is, I don’t think moderate, unobtrusive, regulation, is worse. I think it’s much better.

    Except that there’s no brake on the regulatory regime that keeps it a “moderate, unobtrusive”. Consider the baseball umpire analogy. If I decide that I don’t like how umpires are ruling or I don’t like the rules, I’m free to play without them or by different rules. All I have to do is get someone else to play with me. Umpires and the folks who write the rule books know this so they have considerable incentive to keep potential players happy.

    Govt regulations aren’t optional.

    Moreover, in addition to the economics that ESR mentioned, there’s a concentration of risk phenomena. We’re seeing that in the financial markets.

    The problem is that you can’t actually eliminate risk. You can only move it around. And, most measures that reduce the odds have the nasty side effect of increasing the cost of the failure even more than they reduce the odds. Since the expected value is the product of those two numbers, they’re making things worse. And, even when the expected value remains constant or decreases somewhat, increasing the cost can be a bad thing because going through 0 has disproportionate effects.

    We’d be much better off with a steady stream of low-cost financial failures than we are with the “big bangs” that we get from regulation.

  141. >That sounds like just the sort of thing good regulation can help prevent!

    Hm, the Wikipedia entry is missing the category of deadweight loss caused by regulation itself, which is a large and important one. Basically, any kind of political market-rigging , well-intentioned or not, forces the market away from Pareto optimality. You really need to read Friedman’s book, he does an excellent job of explaining this.

    >That’s what I would call bad regulation, that what serves only the interest of wealthy special interests, not the general public.

    There’s a structural tendency for all regulation to either start out bad in this sense or to become bad. “Good” regulation is not sustainable, because wealthy special interests have both the means and the incentive to buy the regulators. To see how this generalizes to kinds of government action other than regulation and to special-interest groups other than “the wealthy”, read Mancur Olson on the logic of collective action and what happens when the benefits of political lobbying are concentrated but the costs are diffused.

    Another way to put it is like this: “good” regulation lasts only as long as the players (the regulators and the regulatees) haven’t figured out what their minimax strategies are.

  142. True. But the government carrying a $10 trillion debt kind of sets a bad precedent, doesn’t it? ;-)

    Deficits now didn’t create bad political decisions in the Clinton administration.

    Isn’t the debit closer to $15 trillion by what CIA.gov shows

    And as a once dem I am very unhappy about the selling of devices to China that control USA weaponry
    by the Clinton Adim.

  143. Except this time peaceful people won’t get waterboarded, or killed in an illegal oil war. So you know, there’s that minor detail.

    I know I’m commenting on a post that’s 2.5 years old, but I sure wonder how this poster feels now that President Obama has cruise missiles flying into Libya.

  144. I know I’m commenting on a post that’s 2.5 years old, but I sure wonder how this poster feels now that President Obama has cruise missiles flying into Libya.

    I know I’m answering way late, but here goes:

    I feel thoroughly convinced that American government is well and truly fucked without any hope of rescue.

    And pissed off, too.

    But relieved that Obama is on track to win the 2012 election, even though I couldn’t in good conscience vote for him. (I voted Green this year.)

  145. Obama is not a demon; at worst, he’s an idealist who’s been taught to hate his country until it’s made over in the transnational-Left’s image.

    Eric I found this post only today, four years late. But I have wondered for a long time about something in your writing.

    You have written that you have lived in Europe during your youth, including Italy. So, you must have seen real communists, seen real communist policies, and know the difference between communism and socialism.

    How can you then in all honesty claim USA Democrats are part of a “transnational-Left”?

    USA Democrats are to the right of our (continental) European conservatives. Right wing European politicians like Angela Merkel and Neelie Kroes would balk at Obama’s ideas as too far to the right. There is no wing in the Democrat party that connects to any left-wing party in Europe (the continent) or South America at all. And I would be surprised if there was a left-wing party anywhere outside North America that connects to USA Democrats.

    I am honestly wondering how you square your experiences abroad with calling Obama “an idealist who’s been taught to hate his country until it’s made over in the transnational-Left’s image.”?

    There must be something I am missing about the Democrats or USA polemics.

    Or are you seriously claiming Obama is under the influence of some foreign organization?

    As you suggest by your comment that Obama looks “like a sort of latter-day Manchurian Candidate programmed by his hard-left associates to hate his own country.”

  146. >USA Democrats are to the right of our (continental) European conservatives.

    I acknowledge that Europeans still believe this, and I think it was true forty years ago, but it isn’t today.

    US Democrats look to me very much like the European center-left these days. This was not formerly the case, but the Democrats have shifted very far left from where they were in the 1970s, when I was a Democrat myself. The last hurrah of the Democratic center was the failed presidential campaign of Henry “Scoop” Jackson in 1976, for which I was a teenage campaign worker. As that was going on, what was then called the “New Left” was taking control of the party machinery.

    What correlates with this is the Democratic loss of the American South and what used to be called its “Dixiecrat” wing.

    >Or are you seriously claiming Obama is under the influence of some foreign organization?

    It isn’t that simple. I think Obama was never himself consciously a Soviet proxy, but he was indoctrinated by people who were — look up Frank Marshall Davis sometime. Obama is exactly the political creature the Soviets aimed at producing through their agents of influence — a thoroughly nativized tool with all the ideological fixations they desired but the serial numbers filed off.

  147. My only thought throughout this campaign is… how the hell did Mitt Romney get anywhere?

    From the outside looking in, George Bush came across as a likeable moron, an idiot but a well meaning one. I’d have a beer with him any day but i would trust him with anything i considered important (or sharp).

    Mitt Romney comes across as a dangerous psychopathic slime ball.

  148. @esr
    I am not well enough versed in current USA politics to debate current Democrat believes. I still have a hard time picturing any one of the Democrats I see on TV as a “Center-Left” in my country. But TV never shows reality, so you probably are right.

    @esr
    “Obama is exactly the political creature the Soviets aimed at producing through their agents of influence ”

    Since 1990, the Soviets do not exist anymore, so I do not see your point. If you mean he shares believes with the old Soviet Communists, I would seriously wonder what believes that could be?

    On the whole, I do not see why you need to invoke Soviet indoctrination and the Comintern, as the believes Obama expresses are shared by a large section of the US population. He could have acquired them very easily in the USA from fellow Americans.

  149. I am not well enough versed in current USA politics to debate current Democrat believes. I still have a hard time picturing any one of the Democrats I see on TV as a “Center-Left” in my country. But TV never shows reality, so you probably are right.

    A (sort of) friend of mine who is interested in philosophy and politics (odd combo) has a belief that the fundamental belief of Libertarianism is that poor people should have none of the human rights. He ranted for ages about when i trollingly suggested he had libertarian leanings for something he said. Considering that his belief of what libertarianism involves didn’t include anything like the Principle of Non-aggression, the importance of property ownership or even mention the constitution, i’m not entirely what he was actually talking about.

    I think that there should be some sort of anti-corollory to Aumann’s theorum when applied to politics… that it is, for all practical purposes, impossible for two people to obtain “common knowledge of each other’s beliefs”(as per the abovementioned) when it comes to the subject of politics and thus it is impossible for any two people to do anything but “agree to disagree” unless they start the conversation agreeing with one another. (This paragraph is only partly in jest)

    On second thoughts, Less Wrong’s “Politics is the mind killer” may sum that idea up just as well.

    Since 1990, the Soviets do not exist anymore, so I do not see your point.

    While I may be wrong, i believe ESR’s sentence could be restated in a more temporally unambiguous way as :-

    Obama is a modern incarnation of the kind of political creature that the Soviets in the past have attempted to create through their agents of influence.

    In other words, The soviets attempts were before the fall of Soviet Russia (this is my assumption, ESR may be implying that this is a false assumption) but Obama’s beliefs are a knock-on effect.

  150. I’d have a beer with him any day but i would trust him with anything i considered important (or sharp).

    P.S. I obviously meant “wouldn’t trust him”. My subconscious is a retard.

  151. @JonCB
    “I think that there should be some sort of anti-corollory to Aumann’s theorum when applied to politics… that it is, for all practical purposes, impossible for two people to obtain “common knowledge of each other’s beliefs”(as per the abovementioned) when it comes to the subject of politics and thus it is impossible for any two people to do anything but “agree to disagree” unless they start the conversation agreeing with one another.”

    I do not think I understand what you mean here.

    I can “agree to disagree” with people whose political views I most certainly reject. But I know this is only possible after having some kind of conversation about these believes.

    Actually, in my country it is quite common that spouses have different, even opposite, political views, say Conservative and Labor. That even holds for prominent party representatives. So I see evidence of intimate cross-party understanding on a daily basis.

  152. I do not think I understand what you mean here.

    Sorry, thats my bad.

    Aumann’s agreement theorum argues that two rational beings with common knowledge of one another’s beliefs ( prior probabilities, bayesian style) cannot “agree to disagree”. They must either be “irrational”, or incapable of attaining common knowledge of each other’s beliefs. Note that implied here is that each agents beliefs is implied to include the beliefs that support those beliefs all the way down. By highlighting inconsistencies between the union of the two belief sets and then testing to see which version of the inconsistency is correct (if any), both agents should always eventually agree.

    The ultimate weakness to Aumann’s agreement theorum is that it requires two agents actually capable of updating their beliefs (which is unlikely given the current state of humanity) and that both agents fully understand both one another’s actual beliefs and the reasons for them (which exists somewhere between difficult and impossible). My tongue-in-cheek extension is really then that politics sits so firmly on the impossible side that it’s practically impossible to actually have a rational political discussion.

  153. @JonCB
    “My tongue-in-cheek extension is really then that politics sits so firmly on the impossible side that it’s practically impossible to actually have a rational political discussion.”

    A nice philosophical puzzle. I think Aumann is right when talking about politics and religion. But not the way you interpret it.

    Politics is grounded in the weighting of values which are inherently emotional and, therefore, irrational.

    How you weight the importance of Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity, or Property, Health, and Life cannot be rational. So if I “agree to disagree”, this simply means that I accept that the others political views follow rationally from values I recognize and accept, but do not share. Like I can accept that a person believes in some god(dess)(e)(s), while I do not.

    What we can discuss is whether policies follow rationally from the irrational believes claimed to be the basis of it. And obviously, for everyone there are “values” they cannot accept, and where they cannot “agree to disagree”.

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