How To Vote: Let’s Let TV Decide

You think I’m kidding.  But the fact is, that’s what will decide it.  Studies have shown that the majority of voters make election decisions based on emotional factors, not “factual” information.  I enclose “facts” in quotation marks , because as I’ve said previously, facts are in the eye of the beholder, so you can’t separate out the emotional component.  Even in mathematics, which you could once assume was the home of real, unemotional facts,  where two plus two used to reliably be four–we can’t even count on that any more. 

So the TV ads are out in force, and I hate to say this…but this is absolutely the worst season in my memory, at least since I started paying attention.  But while I wasn’t paying attention, perhaps worse things happened.  But who cares?  I wasn’t there, so to speak.  It’s all in perception, and memory.    So this is the coldest winter/hottest summer we’ve ever had, and this generation of young people is going to hell in a handbasket worse than any generation ever, etc.  You get my point. 

But I’ve been paying attention for a good long while now, and this is truly the worst, absolutely chock full of lies. 

Here in Florida, it’s a zoo.  Actually, it’s more like a WWF wrestling match.  Violent and fake.  Florida gets a lot of attention nationally, because we are the fourth largest state, population-wise, in the country, but mostly because we invented hanging chads.  Also there was that business of the 2000 election. 

Last Thursday, the senior political writer for the Tallahassee Democrat (that’s just the name of the newspaper–it’s not to be confused with any political party or liberal agenda) wrote an article headlined “Watch political ads at your own peril”.

I’ll only cover one of the most egregious ones (others to follow).  In the governor’s race, RINO Rick Scott spent $50-60 million of his own money in the primary to win the Republican nomination.  Note:  normally when you say RINO, you mean that he’s a closet Democrat.  In this case, he’s closest to being a closet Tea Partier.  But as far as I know, even they haven’t endorsed him.  Scott is more like a Party of One…the Party of Rick Scott.  Good that Scott had the money, because the Republican Party backed his opponent.  Now that he won, the Party is trying to kiss and make up, but he doesn’t need them, and his opponent in the primary will not endorse him, and he doesn’t care.  He still has a lot of money left.  Which he’s now using on TV ads to bash the Democratic candidate, Alex Sink, who is the current state Chief Financial Officer and former President of Bank of America in Florida. 

One of Scott’s current ads, which I haven’t seen in two days–since Sink got enough money to fight back on TV–says that during Sink’s tenure, the state’s pension fund lost $24 million dollars.  This is actually a fact.  Then the ad shows a bunch of seniors and says something like, “You worked hard for your money.  Imagine losing it all because of Alex Sink’s mismanagement”.    Here are a few more facts:  the ad implies that it affects all seniors.  In fact this pension fund only applies to state employees.  But in Florida, there is a requirement that you pander to the fears of senior citizens.  Another fact:  that fund probably lost less than most.  Does anyone remember the Wall Street crash?  That was not the fault of Alex Sink, who in any case, is not solely responsible for the management of the fund. 

In Sink’s response, she refers to the fact that Rick Scott was the CEO of Columbia/HCA when it was fined the largest fine in history for Medicare fraud–$1.7 billion.  This is also a fact.  How do I know?  He admits it.  He does emphasize that he was never personally charged with a crime.  He was, however, fired.  Hello? 

At times like these, I tend to despair about democracy.  The majority of the voting public (however small that percentage is) respond to a TV ad that strikes a nerve emotionally, and never does any research to see if the claims are factual.  They…and I do mean they…do not take citizenship seriously. 

There are those who say democracy works.  That we end up with “the will of the people”.  Maybe that’s a good thing.  Maybe it’s the best of all possible worlds.  I don’t want to substitute democracy for dictatorship or oligarchy.  But when ignorant people are voting and smart people are not,  the Will Of The People often seems to me to get us more of what we deserve for not paying attention than what we need.  That’s how we ended up with George W. Bush.  For eight years.  Although, it was almost only four….

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32 responses to “How To Vote: Let’s Let TV Decide

  1. masteroftheuniverse

    Things are tame these days, not so bad as you suggest. Remembber these?

    1.”Sir, if you were my husband, I would poison your drink”
    “Madam, if you were my wife, I would drink it.”
    Winston Churchill to Lady Astor

    2. We did not conceive it possible that even Mr Lincoln would produce a paper so slipshod, so loose-joined, so puerile, not alone in literary construction, but in its ideas, its sentiments, its grasp. He has outdone himself.
    Chicago Times (1863) on Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address (19 November 1863)

    3. … and to you, sir, treacherous in private friendship … and a hypocrite in public life, the world will be puzzled to decide whether you are an apostate or an impostor, whether you have abandoned good principles or whether you ever had any.
    Thomas Paine (1737-1809), letter to George Washington (1732-99)

    4. … as thin as the homeopathic soup that was made by boiling the shadow of a pigeon that had been starved to death.
    Abraham Lincoln (1809-65)

    5. A crafty and lecherous old hypocrite whose very statue seems to gloat on the wenches as they walk the States House yard.
    William Cobbett (1763-1835), on Benjamin Franklin (1706-90), American statesman and scientist.

    6. Douglas can never be president, Sir. No, Sir; Douglas never can be president, Sir. His legs are too short, Sir. His coat, like a cow’s tail, hangs too near the ground, Sir.
    Thomas Hart Benton (1782-1858) on Stephen A. Douglas, presidential candidate

    7. Filthy Story-Teller, Despot, Liar, Thief, Braggart, Buffoon, Usurper, Monster, Ignoramus Abe, Old Scoundrel, Perjurer, Robher, Swindler, Tyrant, Field-Butcher, Land-Pirate.
    Harper’s Weekly on Abraham Lincoln

    8. Garfield has shown that he is not possessed of the backbone of an angleworm.
    Ulysses S. Grant (1822-85), 18th American president, on James A. Garfield (1831-81), 20th American president

    9. God damn your god damned old hellfired god damned soul to hell god damn you and god damn your god damned family’s god damned hellfired god damned soul to hell and good damnation god damn them and god damn your god damned friends to hell.
    Peter Muggins, American citizen, letter to President Abraham Lincoln (1809-65)

    10. He has all the characteristics of a dog except loyalty.
    Sam Houston, American politician, on Thomas Jefferson Green (1801-63), American politician

    11. He slept more than any other president, whether by day or night. Nero fiddled, but Coolidge only snored.
    H. L. Mencken (1880-1956) on Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933

    12. He writes the worst English that I have ever encountered. It reminds me of a string of wet sponges; it reminds me of tattered washing on the line; it reminds me of stale bean soup, of college yells, of dogs barking idiotically through endless nights. It is so bad that a sort of grandeur creeps into it. It drags itself out of the dark abysm of pish and crawls insanely up the topmost pinnacle of posh. It is rumble and bumble. It is flap and doodle. It is balder and dash.
    H. L Mencken (1880-1956), American journalist and critic, on Warren G. Harding (1865-1923), American president

    13. His face is ashen, gaunt his whole body, His breath is green with gall; His tongue drips poison.
    Ovid (43 BC-AD 17), applied by John Quincy Adams (1767-1848) to John Randolph

    14. How can they tell?
    Dorothy Parker (1893-1967) on hearing that American President Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933) had died

    15. One could drive a schooner through any part of his argument and never scrape against a fact.
    David Houston, American politician, on William Jennings Bryan (1860-1925), American lawyer and politician

    16. Reader, suppose you were an idiot; and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself.
    Mark Twain (1835-1910), American writer, on Congress

    17. The moral character of Jefferson was repulsive. Continually puling about liberty, equality, and the degrading curse of slavery, he brought his own children to the hammer, and made money of his debaucheries.
    Alexander Hamilton (1757-1804), American politician, on Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), 3rd American president

    Let’s not believe the media that things are as bad as they want you to think. After all, the media is the source of everything most people think. There were at least 20 duels between members of congress in the early days. Surely, we have not reached such rancor as then. The invective was much more creative those days….Oh, I long for those days when you could bring up mistresses, illegitimite children, accusations of drunken behavior, accusations of having veneral pox, calling a man’s wife a whore and his mistress a lady, and on and on. Politics are great entertainment……if only we could keep those scoundrels out of our back pockets.

  2. You didn’t mention the other ad that says Scott took the 5th Amendment 75 times during a deposition involving the Medicare fraud. Nothing to hide….

    Did the Tallahicky Demagogue fail to report that pension fund managers tried to find ways to avoid legal restriuctions on certain investments and when they could not, did it anyway under “don’t ask don’t tell”?

  3. By contrast, the Senate race is very tame….

    I think Crist’s ad where he rearranges red and blue blocks which spell “Republicans” and “Democrats” to spell “Americans” was very clever. But he is too clever (slippery) for me.

    I’m voting Meek. And it won’t make a difference since Crist is in a tailspin. He should get out so Meek possibly give Rubio a real race.

    But the only reason I’m voting is so I can support Amendment 4. If that passes, I’ll be happy! Local government needs a good kick in the groin….

  4. Jeff…those quotes were fabulous! It seems that people in those days were more creative and articulate when it comes to insults 🙂 It’s almost impossible to pick a favorite, but I’m leaning toward the very first one.
    spencercourt…I may be wrong, but I believe that pleading the 5th thing was in relationship to the investigation of his string of walk-in clinics (Solantic) which was post-Columbia/HCA. Also, you should vote yes on Amendments 5 and 6 (redistricting). I was delighted that the FL Supreme Court threw out Amendment 7, one put in by the Legislature which basically would have nullified 5 and 6.

  5. masteroftheuniverse

    Spencercourt said, “You didn’t mention the other ad that says Scott took the 5th Amendment 75 times during a deposition involving the Medicare fraud. Nothing to hide” Taking the 5th during a deposition is standard procedure, as is taking the fifth the minute you are in a grand jury room and asked your name. Taking the 5th is one of your basic rights under the bill of rights and one should not be castigated just because you refuse to comment and assert your basic right. To castigate one in that manner is the height of hubris. Scott should not be judged as guilty because his company had billing irregularities anymore than Florida Power and Light had a rounding error that they had to correct. Medicare and Medicaid are clusterfucks and are just a partial glimpse of the future if Obama succeeds in his nefarious plans. Our future is going to be right out of Terry Gillim’s “Brazil.” But anyways, the 5th amendment will go away, just like all our other rights, within a generation or so. Think it can’t happen here……neither did the middle class Germans in 1930. As Germany was taken over by a left wing cabal of totalarians in 1932, we are in the same danger right now.
    The sheeple in this country only think what the media tells them to think and entertainers that pose as pundits are dangerous. *I would wager that less than 1% of the population could tell you why they were conservative or liberal, by that I mean having read and being well versed in the philosophers from Aristotle through Hume and Locke that would give some intellectual rigor to their belief system. I cite those guys because our system is western based and not to minimize the contributions of eastern philosophies. 99% of the people in this country are tools of one side or another. The left is told what to do from George Soros and the right is told what to do from the Scaife brothers, all billionaires with their own agenda that does not include your liberty. Our liberty is the only thing we really have and should be jealously guarded, as the old saying from Patrick Henry, “Give me Liberty or Give me Death.” is still highly regarded in my corner. Another old saying I respect comes from Ben Franklin regarding government power grabs of freedom to ensure safety of the citizenry. He said, “He who sacrifices freedom for security deserves neither.”

  6. Oh, Jeff 🙂 Taking the 5th refers to the right not to incriminate yourself. It basically says, you can come after me, but you can’t make me help you. It’s a critical right, and one which helps protect us against tyranny, if you want to call it that. It says that you can refuse to cooperate and not be imprisoned for it. It forces the accusers to come up with evidence.
    That said, in real life, invoking the 5th 75 times does give the appearance of having something to hide.
    As an aside, that reminds me that recently I attended a meeting where Ion Sancho, the relatively famous Supervisor of Elections in my county, was the speaker. A member of the audience asked the following question: “My husband thinks it should be very difficult to amend the Constitution. What do you think?” (He could have pointed out that it already is very difficult to amend the Constitution, even the state Constitution which is what she meant.) What he said was, that’s ridiculous. The first thing that ever happened to the U.S. Constitution was that it was amended. We call those Amendments the Bill of Rights. Does anybody want to repeal them? (which would itself be an Amendment, such as the one which repealed Prohibition.) If so, which ones do we want to repeal? The one that gives women the right to vote? I am amused/outraged by people who claim to support the Constitution, but have no idea what it says.
    The comparison to Germany in the 1930’s is spurious and feeble. You can do better than that 🙂 Likewise your references to Aristotle, Locke, and Hume. Remember I said you were both a snob and an outlaw? There is your example 🙂 I’m pretty sure that spencercourt has read all those people. I know I have. The issue is relevance. We do agree about sheeple…I think I just said that.

  7. Speaking of relevance, the Ben Franklin quote at the end of your comment is the most relevant. It makes me think of Iraq. I think that’s what they did–sacrifice freedom for security. Under Saddam, at least they had electricity. It’s like what they say about Hitler–he kept the trains running.
    The security part only worked if you weren’t a female or a family with a daughter that Saddam or one of his psycho sons wanted to rape and beat up, or a young man they wanted to shoot for sport. If there was ever a despot worthy of being deposed or defeated since Hitler, Saddam Hussein was it. The important thing is THAT’S NOT WHY WE WERE THERE. Only after the WMD lies were exposed did the rationale turn to: Well, Saddam was a bad guy and needed to be taken out anyway.

  8. masteroftheuniverse

    Funny thing about the WMD’s in Iraq was that the dirty little secret was that they did find some……just not in the quantities that would make the journalists proud. Look,Bush wasn’t a great guy but there wasn’t a president as reviled by the media since Nixon.

    Keep saying that my comparison to Germany in the 1930’s is spurious and feeble. The Jews in 1930 thought everything was just hunky dory. Just hope that you’re one of the groups that aren’t the target of whatever final solution happens…..however, I think that they will go after Libertarians because people of my ilk tend to take the constitutuion serious. And I do know the constitution, and the Declaration, and our history.

    I’m surprised that after your reading of the aforementioned philosophers that you are as progressive as you are unless you had a little Nietzsche and Plato invade your brain:)

    Anyways, you know the story behind the Bill of Rights, why they were adopted so quickly, and the back room deal behind it. However, it is interesting to point out that our founding fathers (Mainly that impearilist Hamilton and his partner in crime Adams) took just eight years after the ink was dry on the constitution creating the alien and sedition act making it a crime to speak ill of the president or congress (but you could talk ill of the vice pres…another little political intrigue there, but I’m sure you know all about that)…..talk about wanting to keep their power. Hamilton and Adams said that our rights come from the government and Madison and Jefferson thought our rights come from a higher power, our huanity. I’ll cast my lot with Madison and Jefferson any day.

    As far as the 5th amendment, I’m not a criminal and have taken it numerous times in different proceedings. I was exercising my rights.

    I know and respect that it is essential to your being to believe in the beneviolence of the government. The purpose is of the constitution is to keep said government off our back. The 4th amendment is the most important amendment, the right for us to be left alone. It means the government can’t knock your door down and take you away. It puts the government in the position to have to go to a neutral judge to get a warrant to use force against us. That amendment is moot now ever since the patriot act which allows secret courts, warrantless searches, suspension of habeas corpus, and the killing of American Citizens without due process(just a few of the things). Carter started this assualt on the 4th amendment with the FISA act, but Bush did the worst damage to the constitution since FDR and before that Lincoln with that patriot act that all your idols(I have no politicians I trust at all) are guilty of signing on to. Funny thing is that all the laws used by Lincoln and FDR are still on the books, hidden away, ready to be used again. They can still put American Citizens in camps…..check it out, it’s the law. One amendment that comes to mind that the progressives would like to remove is the 2nd. As Hayek said, the government always uses wartime to remove your freedom. Think of War on Drugs, War on Poverty, War on Terrorism, even the War on Illiteracy have all resulted in laws that have reduced your freedom.

    Really, there’s no difference between Republicans and Democrats, as both of their platforms are almost, paragraph for paragraph, the same. I think the real divide is between those who have dental hygene and those who don’t:)

  9. masteroftheuniverse

    I just realized why I was a snob and outlaw, and why you are too. From now on whenever I bring up the philosophers, I won’t just drop names, but I will mention the specific work. To say I have read Socrates, Aristotle, and Plato is very broad and my son is the only person I know that has read their entire catalogues in the original language. Same with Locke, Hume, et al. It’s better to cite the specific work, chapter and verses of the philosophers we mention…..makes us less snobbish and sound less pretentious, don’t you think?

  10. To clarify, I have never called you a criminal 🙂 I’m surprised that you’re surprised that I can be “as progressive as I am”, having read the philosophers you speak of. All philosophers are products of their times. I repeat….relevance. I do actually know about the “back room deal” that led to the Bill of Rights, and I would say we are better off for it. Ditto the backroom deals that went on to pass health care reform. The day will come when we know we are better off for it. As for the most important Amendment, my vote is for the First. To me, it completely defines America. It’s unfortunate that we had to keep clarifying it to say that those rights included black people and women, but that’s just the way it is. As long as we’re talking about history.

  11. I already acknowledged that I too am a snob and an outlaw, but it causes us to reach different conclusions. At least we come to our conclusions honestly, rather than being told what to think. You may quote the philosophers of your choice, chapter and verse, but I will still be asking you to cite relevance. Our current laws, including the Constitution, never envisioned the Internet, or air travel, for example. That’s why the holy Founding Fathers left room for amendments. They were in fact, smart enough to foresee that they could not foresee everything.

  12. masteroftheuniverse

    You cite the first amendment as the most important amendment. It is probably the most watered down amendment in the Bill.
    Freedom of religion….just ask David Koressh and the Branch Davidians about that one. The Establishment Clause is under threat, just try to set up a religion that has an illegal act(such as incest) as a sacrament.
    Freedom of speech….shout fire in a theater, threaten the president, The Smith Act has never been overturned. Commercial speech does not enjoy the full protection of the 1st amendment.
    Obscenity is often prosecuted
    You are not free to libel, slander in public, but congress and the executive branch have exempted themselves from that rule.
    As for censorship, the government censors books all the time, most recently an author( ex army intelligence) wrote a book only to have most of it redacted.
    The first amendment allows the state to control your thoughts by insisting on psychopaths being forced to take medications to control their delusions. That’s very Orwellian with state thought control. Even schizophrenics should be allowed their delusions, whatever they may be.
    As for freedom of the press, just go as an embedded war correspondent and see if your stories aren’t redacted.
    Also, face it, you don’t have the right of free assembly. Try staging a demonstration without state permission (a permit) and see what happens.

    As far as your right to petition the government, under the Patriot act, if they are investigating you or search you or your finances etc and you petition the court, it is essential that you file the suit as a John or Jane Doe, otherwise you will get the 2 years in jail, no trial, as proscribed by the act.

    The 1st amendment ain’t what it used to be.

  13. Let’s review: freedom from government prescribed religion. Freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, and the right of petition to the government for redress. You cannot seriously believe that any of those rights have been taken away from you. In the 200 years plus since that was written, the Supreme Court has upheld those rights, sometimes at great peril and anguish to themselves. That’s why if it comes to it, that you can build a mosque two blocks from Ground Zero. It’s the law. Don’t talk to me about them being sensitive enough not to do it.

  14. masteroftheuniverse

    I believe I covered each those rights that have been taken away. The Supreme Court has not upheld every one of those rights with the exception of religion, which they won’t touch. Enforcement of the bans on religion rests with the Executive branch, FBI etc. Too many numerous cases to cite where the government has interfered with people engaging in the practice of religion, Utah is a hotbed of government religious persecution, followed by Arkansas, Idaho, and Texas. Hell, snake handling is illegal and that’s government interference. All the other rights I described above have been limited. And, as I earlier said, you do need a permit to assemble, which smacks of government control. I won’t repeat everything else I wrote, but you get the gist.

    I understand that we differ as you believe in the ultimate benevolence of government and I see them as the crooked enterprise that they are. I’ll wager that you have never had the full wrath of the federal government come down on you for no reason other than quotas. It’s not pleasant and very expensive, take it from me.

  15. “We need a third party on the stage of the next presidential debate to look Americans in the eye and say: “These two parties are lying to you. They can’t tell you the truth because they are each trapped in decades of special interests. I am not going to tell you what you want to hear. I am going to tell you what you need to hear if we want to be the world’s leaders, not the new Romans.””

    “They cannot think about the overall public good and the longer term anymore because both parties are trapped in short-term, zero-sum calculations,” where each one’s gains are seen as the other’s losses.”

    More and more I find myself in agreement with Tom Friedman.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/03/opinion/03friedman.html?_r=1&src=me&ref=homepage

    The TV ads are such hate and propaganda diarrhea that I mute them when I am watching broadcast TV. We do not have a candidate in Florida’s Governors race or Senate Race that I would be excited or even respectful of voting for.

    There is only one candidate in the State that I am excited to vote for and that is Adam Putnam for Ag. Here is a man who was the third ranking Rep in Washington who said basically “I don’t want to do the things this position requires, that’s not why I’m here” and he resigned as House Conference Chair and threw his hat in the ring for Fla Ag. If elected he should make a fine Ag Sec and it will position him well for the 2014 Governors race.

    So if you hang around Florida long enough you may see what a home grown boy can do.

  16. masteroftheuniverse

    ptfan, Putnam will make a decent Ag Secretary. People in Florida just don’t realize how powerful of a position the Ag Secretary is. Just hope that he streamlines things and eliminates bureaucracy.. I own a little ag property near Arcadia(a couple of Valencias and a few head of cattle), and the paperwork is unbelievable, and I don’t get any federal or state subsidy. Heck, even SWFTMUD is causing me fits and I’m on the high ground and don’t use irrigation.

    Right now, I’m watching Obama on TV. The market is puking. I am in the process of trying to get the dates and times Obama has spoken during market hours, run the numbers, and correlate the reaction of the S&P vs Obama’s bloviations. There might be a trend worth trading as I have long suspected that the market goes down everytime Obama speaks. I need to be scientific and quantify this anecdotal observation of mine.

  17. pt…I’m voting for Putnam too, because he seems qualified. But ssh don’t tell anyone I’m voting for him, because he’s a Republican. My reputation will be ruined. Not to mention, I wouldn’t vote for Scott Maddox for dogcatcher, as they say, and anyhow, he doesn’t have the background Putnam does. I have yet to read the Friedman article…but I will.
    Jeff, I’m still trying to get over you using the example of David Koresh 🙂

  18. masteroftheuniverse

    OK,Koresh was a bit of a stretch, but they still won’t let you handle snakes which is excessive government intrusion in my religious beliefs. Also, under the equal protection clause, certain Indian tribes can use peyote and Mescaline in their religious ceremoniesl. Catch me with a peyote button or na gram of mesc and I will be calling my bailbondsman.

    Don’t be ashamed about voting for a Republican. I vote for at least one or two Democrats each election. I tend to vote for the best person and usually the Democrats field one or two candidates that are the best person. What I really wish is that the ballot would have a space that said, “None of the above.”

    Also, don’t worry about not reaqding the Friedman article. If nobody in New York reads the Times and finds it irrevelant, why should people in the provinces care? Seriously, inNYC you can’t find the Times anywhere. You’ll find the Post, Daily News, and Voice on every corner, but not the Times. I feel kind of bad of it’s downward slope as the quality of paper makes such good bird cage liner. Oh well, in Sarasota the local paper is owned by the NYT and is so out of touch with this community that its circulation is down 70% and the ad revenue is next to nothing. I don’t read it anymore, and the only people supporting it are the old people out of habit.

  19. Pingback: Interesting dialogue on Left Wing Sites « Masteroftheuniverse’s Weblog

  20. Hey FN – I haven’t been here for a few days and what do you do – you go post an interesting article and I don’t get to it until it is already “old” by blog standards….

    You think I’m kidding. But the fact is, that’s what will decide it.

    Isn’t that a frightening thing? Those of us who follow politics on a daily basis, and who are actually informed about the issues, are a tiny tiny tiny minority. Most people aren’t really paying to politics right now – and won’t right up until the mid-term elections (if they even realize mid-terms are going to occur).

    Yet – these same people will vote, and these same people will gladly offer thei opinion when a pollster calls them.

    It is really scary.

    Call me an elitist bastard, but I sure wish there was some legal (and unbiased) way to only allow people to vote if they have even a basic understanding of the issues.

    • You gotta keep up HP 🙂 Did you subscribe?

      • You gotta keep up HP 🙂 Did you subscribe?

        I had some disastrous experience once that keeps me from subscribing to any blogs – but since I can’t even remember what that experience was I should perhaps reconsider the policy.

        Worse, I just discovered that I have not blogrolled you. That is generally how I keep up with the blogs I read – using my own blogroll – but you weren’t there. Fixing that as soon as I hit the “post” button….

  21. That’s why the holy Founding Fathers left room for amendments. They were in fact, smart enough to foresee that they could not foresee everything.

    Unfortunately, they set the bar too high for amendments – perhaps because they did not anticipate a time when the desire for personal political power would override what is good for the country – resulting in obstructionist practices that serve no purpose other than to garner political points with an uninformed electorate.

  22. masteroftheuniverse

    @Hippieprof There is something to be said for poll taxes, literacy requirements, and land owning requirements for the right to vote. Our founding fathers were on to something there. At least we still have the Electoral College. I know that I get angry that a 24 year old welfare mother of 5 has the same vote that I do. To add insult to injury, if that same woman has an $8.00/hr job. her Earned Income Credit (EIC) is over $5,000 which comes directly out of my pocket, plus she gets food stamps, WIC, and medicaid. A forced transfer of wealth from the productive to the unproductive. Not is that only morally wrong, it violates the Equal Protection Clause…….I want someone to give me $5K/ year for just doing nothing except pumping out a few extra kids.

    • Jeff, maybe you misunderstood me. I have no problem with that welfare mother voting as long as she understands the issues. The same goes for a lot of employed people who have no understanding what they are voting for. Poor understanding of issues knows no class boundaries.

      Hmmm…. “forced transfer of wealth from the productive to the unproductive. ” Haha… I never really saw commodities traders as productive – seriously – what is it that you produce?

      It is funny that you describe yourself as a political moderate – and have the gall to say that I am left of Marx. Poll taxes? Land owning requirements? Seriously, Jeff?

  23. masteroftheuniverse

    HippieProf, you said, “Hmmm…. “forced transfer of wealth from the productive to the unproductive. ” Haha… I never really saw commodities traders as productive – seriously – what is it that you produce”

    Obviously you slept through Econ 101

    Commodity trading (Shuffling Paper as many Liberals like to call it) is the engine of liquidity in the economy. That “shuffling paper” evens out the seasonal variations of commodities and makes the price of a loaf of bread stay relatively constant month in and month out. That “shuffling paper” ensures that a farmer will be able to get a stable price for his crops at harvest time, and not get punished because all of the crops are coming in at the same time. “Shuffling paper” ensures that the average person can get a mortgage without a call provision. That “Shuffling paper” ensures that a person will even be able to get a loan. “Shuffling Paper” ensures that the government will be able to finance its debt. “Shuffling Paper” ensures that you will be able to purchase an insurance policy, any insurance policy. Commodity traders assume risk and expect to be well compensated and soometimes are. We’re as important as your auto insurance company or health insurance company because we stabilize prices. In other words, commodity traders produce security.

    Putting myself at risk every time I put on a trade is a noble cause, and if I’m right, I deserve every dollar I make for being right. If I’m wrong, well….I pay with a smile on my face. Plus, I’m constantly under the eye of the tax-man, who ensures that he gets his cut of my income without ever taking any risk. Plus, as the taxman is my silent partner, he also gets to tell me how to run my business, impose regulations, increase his cut of my action (jut like the mafia does while extorting a business), and arbitrarily change the rules in the middle of the game.

    I wouldn’t expect you to understand this as you work for a college(Tenured?) and have never had to meet a payroll, meet with shareholders, worry about a profit, worry about where the next dollar is coming from. I don’t hold this against you, as we’re just vastly different creatures. In academia, it’s very easy to sit on the ivory pulpit and dispense wisdom to adoring young minds. Working in the trenches as I do, one not only needs the wisdom, rigorous mathematical and analytical skills, nerves of steel but also the ability to take a hit, get up, dust ones self off and do it again. I’ve taught college level several times in my life, done research, etc and will say that the college experience was a walk in the park compared to what I do. In fact, the college experience was the easiest gig I’ve ever had….and I went to a supposedly top school.

    None of this is meant to be disrespectful, but my role in society is every bit as important as yours.

    • I don’t believe that actually answered the question.

    • Obviously you slept through Econ 101

      Futures markets are not covered in Econ 101 – but regardless, I have a decent understanding of how they work….

      None of this is meant to be disrespectful, but my role in society is every bit as important as yours.

      I don’t think you were disrespectful to me at all. You were exceptionally disrespectful to that stereotypical welfare mother whom apparently is not only unproductive but doesn’t deserve to vote because she doesn’t have enough money or property. You ask what is wrong with this? We can just start with “taxation without representation” and go from there. I am not even going to address your assumption that someone who is unemployed is by definition unproductive – they may well be volunteering at the local food bank for all you know.

      My claim that you “don’t produce anything” is of course based on the notion that futures trading (by your own admission) is a zero sum game. You aren’t creating any wealth – you are simply transferring wealth from one location to another. Yes – futures markets do indeed provide an important hedge against rapid market fluctuations. I doubt you went into the field with that altruistic goals in mind – you did it because you figured you could beat the market. There isn’t anything wrong with that – but don’t make it more than it is either.

      Of course, events in the futures market can also have a very negative effect on the economy. Conventional wisdom says that failures in the derivatives market were in part a cause of the current housing crisis. Would you disagree with that?

      • masteroftheuniverse

        Actually,futures markets are covered in Ecobn 101, and are covered in great detail, or at least at my alma mater. And futures are not a zero sum game, as the vig, market friction, commission, and mistakes make it a less than zero sum game. I won’t mention it anymore because I don’t think you have a decent understanding on how they work. If I’ve been trading futures professionally since 1978 and don’t have a full understanding, there is no way you know as much as you think you do. However, I’ve seen studies that are ruight up your alley where it is a sex based thing where males think they know more than they really do regarding investments, trading, futures, and poker playing.

        The current housing crisis has its roots in “The Community Reinvestment Program,” a program invented by Carter to force banks to make banks make loans that are not in the best interests of their shareholders. Anyways, what housing crisis???? all I see is opportunity. Houses are just commodities, and some people bought at the top and got hosed. Some people bought with sub-prime mortgages with all kinds of exotic financing and did not run the deal by a lawyer or CPA. They deserved to be fleeced as one should always do due diligence.. My lawn guy was a perfect example of this…..he paid for a $400K house in a gated community. There are no guarantees in life except death and taxes (and I’m hoping to minimize the tax thing as I’m not in the mood for my taxes to go up on Jan 1st. It’s people like me that pay for all of your stuff.

        Anyways, you ought to revisit your definition of derivatives as you are showing your lack of understanding . That’s a problem with us PhD’s, we tend to think we know everything about everything.

        Anyways, markets go up and they go down….big deal. This current “Crisis” is nothing compared to 1977-1980 when Carter was prez and every indicator was much worse than now. The only difference is that we have a 24/7 liberal media telling us how bad things are, and like MacKay’s “Madness of Crowds,” it affects people. Still, I’m very optimistic.

        As for disrespecting the stereotypical welfare mother, How many have you hired full time? How many have you had the state employment office send over? I have hired 12 of them in the past 30 years and have had very poor results, with none lasting more than 6 months…..and I paid their insurance, like I pay all my assistants insurance and a fair market wage.. Unlike progressives, I don’t deal with feelings, I deal with realities and cold hard facts. Again, no disrespect to anyone, just the truth.

  24. masteroftheuniverse

    I found these lectures regarding your 5th amendment rights and how to deal with the police. These are very informative and I will be posting them over at my blog.

    These can be the most important lectures you will ever see, even if you are innocent. Remember, the job of the police is not to protect you but is to catch criminals.

    • Funny story: one morning I got out of the shower and the Fugitive squad was at my door. Looking for a guy who used to live in my house and used it as his business address. I got mail for him all the time. The street was jammed with law enforcement vehicles and they had blocked my car into the driveway. I called work to say I would be late, and my bookkeeper at the time was in her final year of law school. “Whatever you do”, she said, “Don’t say anything!” Lorena, I said, I don’t even know this guy they’re looking for. “I don’t care!” she said, “Don’t say another word!!!”

  25. masteroftheuniverse

    Actually I answered the question at a 5th grade level. Do I need to go to a 3rd grade level? If you don’t think I answered the question, after giving about 6 examples, I don’t know what to say. Alinsky had your little trick in his playbook by the way…..when a question is answered, state that the question was never answered. If you want, I’ll gladly send you a pdf of Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals.”

    As far as poll taxes and land ownership for voting, what’s the big deal? There are already severe restrictions on voting in this country. Felons can’t vote, the insane can’t vote, the retarded can’t vote, children can’t vote, and people in their nonage can’t legally vote. What’s a few more restrictions? This should please the progressives as there could be some more government regulation and maybe a few more government programs.

    Face it, without guys like me, life would be much poorer for you….think 1950’s East Berlin.

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