Inept Vs. Insane: The End Is Near

I used to rent a house from Lorraine Andrews back in the eighties. Lorraine was quite a character. She was valedictorian of her class at UC Berkeley, (one of her classmates was Earl Warren) she owned the Lola Montez house in Grass Valley, where she lived for awhile before moving to the Oakland Hills and donating the house to the city. She was a lifelong spinster schoolteacher with very strong opinions about most everything.

She also owned a house in Nevada City that we rented back in those days. (She claimed she bought it on the courthouse steps for $500 during the depression. We offered to double her money but she wouldn’t go for it.) One day in 1984, she called and I answered the phone.

“Do you have a pencil?” she asked. “I want you to take notes.” (This was standard for Lorraine. These one-sided conversations could last for an hour.) I never did take notes, but always humored her and said I did. “Ready? Now I want you to vote for Ronald Reagan.,” she commanded. “You have to vote for Reagan.”

It was a sticky situation. I was still a loyal Democrat back then, but to refuse left open the possibility of eviction, or at the very least a raise in our reasonable rent. “Of course, I’ll vote for Reagan,” I lied. Maybe I was wrong, but seeing how we were talking politics, lying came easy.

Now I would never presume to tell anyone how to vote, but I will tell you my feelings on the subject, and you’ll have to take my word that I’m telling the truth. I don’t expect anyone to follow my advice. It’s up to everyone to make up their own mind, based on their interpretation of the facts.

I don’t vote for Democrats anymore. Living in California has soured me on the party, ever since they tried to screw me out of $450 to register my out-of-state car here in the early nineties. When I had it smogged, the technician told me I shouldn’t have to pay the extortion since my Chevy was built to CA specs in the bay area. Nevertheless, the drones at the DMV got me on a technicality. (The sticker had fallen off the engine.) I didn’t have much money back then, so it really hurt. Fortunately, Republicans sued the state and eventually won. I got my money back almost ten years later, without interest. My relationship with the party has only gotten worse since then. All you have to do is look at the state of state finances to see how badly they manage government. I have no desire to give them any more power (or money) at the federal or state level.

Which leaves us with the Republicans. Give me a break. I like some of their ideas on the economy, but on just about everything else they suck, big time. Their social agenda is something out of the dark ages. Listening to some of the yahoos that are running for the House and Senate makes my skin crawl. Moderate Repubbys tell me, “Oh, we can control them!” Right. Didn’t they say that about some party in Germany back in the last century? I’d vote for my cat before I’d willingly send any of these assholes to Washington or Sacramento to spew their hate and ignorance.

So I’ll be voting third party wherever possible. In the presidential contest, my choice is Libertarian Gary Johnson. I don’t necessarily agree with everything in the Lib platform, (I’m no Ayn Rand zombie) but I do appreciate their dedication to freedom and the Constitution, something the other two parties seem to have forgotten in their zeal to control other people’s lives.

I know that my vote won’t count for much. Everybody knows that Obama has California locked up. But at least when the shit hits the fan, I can say don’t blame me! It sure beats living a lie.

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57 Responses to Inept Vs. Insane: The End Is Near

  1. rl crabb says:

    It should be noted that Gary Johnson was a two-term Republican Governor of New Mexico, a Democratic state. Mitt Romney knew he could never win twice in Massachusetts, and chose not to run. He had accomplished his mission, which was to be able to say he had once been elected.

  2. Todd Juvinall says:

    Turd party voting is pretty shitty RL.

    • Jesus Betterman says:

      Todd and his candidate both continue to occupy the Out House.

    • Bjorn V says:

      Has anyone informed you, Mr. Juvinall that voters have the right to cast their ballot for any candidate they wish? I’m going to refrain from derogatory (and particularly vile) name-calling and just let it be said that I am grateful that you are not now nor will ever be in a serious political position. There were people like yourself during WWII whose philosophy manifested in the unjust ignorance induced eradication of millions. If it were up to you, I’m sure the ideology would be raised from the dead. It is sad that a man your age still just doesn’t get it. Your time is past any relevance.

      • Todd Juvinall says:

        I think you are just a jealous loser Bjorn. You remind me of the man in charge of Russia during the 30′s. Have at it. I am for freedom, you are not. I think you libs are so caught up in yourselves you forget how ridiculous you come across to the rest of us sane folks.

        • Michael Anderson says:

          Todd, you are one scan short of a full TSA profile. Go back to GO, do not collect $200 dollars.

          But I will give you this…you seem to be a Giants fan, so let’s hook up down on Market Street this coming Wednesday for the parade, and we can share some San Francisco Values together. Are you in?

          • Ryan Mount says:

            Michael-

            Welp. There you go again. Ben was implying that I owe you a stiff drink somewhere. I don’t recall a bet on this topic (I never bet with the A’s for obvious reasons like I don’t bet with my Presidential Candidate pick), however if I did, I suppose you’re entitled to it.

            You know, as much as I don’t like the Giants, I thoroughly enjoyed watching them play. For me the game tryumps team loalty. The defense and pitching were simply top notch. I’ll take diving catches, Romo’s sliders (simply amazing), bare handed outs and other excellent field playing over bomber home runs any day. But I’m weird like that.

          • Todd Juvinall says:

            I am a Giants fan and they don’t appear to me to be showing “San Francisco” values at all. They are showing us American values. Hard work, never give up, no handouts, play by the rules kind of men. Those are not SF values.

            The TSA has just tweeted me and are requesting I tour the opening of the new airport in Nebraska. Gotta go now.

  3. Brad Croul says:

    You can vote for the corporate duopoly (Obama/Romney, a.k.a. Chick- Fil-A/KFC), or you can vote for “other”.

    Most of what I heard from Romney was a lot of bold talk and pimping for special interests such as the old white hawk (and other saber rattlers)voting block; and how he was going to magically create millions of jobs on “day 1″ (but am pretty sure that Romney also says that “trickle-down” government cannot create jobs).
    But, I am sure the ditto heads are bobbling like a dash board hula girl on a washboard gravel road.

    This periodic electoral fury is good for the economy though. Printing presses are humming across the land. Political marketeers are hawking their people and propositions. Corporations, magnates, czars, and moguls are drenching advertising agencies with cash, trying to get their “boy” on the throne.

    And only a day away, bombs rain down across the Middle East and deadly drones roam the cradle of civilization.

  4. Greg Goodknight says:

    RL, most Libertarians didn’t go through an Ayn Rand phase and it isn’t unusual for the young uns who did to grow out of it.

    It’s a intellectual tradition that predated Rand’s immigration by a century or two.

    • Steve Frisch says:

      And yet Paul Ryan was still giving copies of Atlas Shrugged out until two years ago……to adults.

      http://www.csmonitor.com/Books/chapter-and-verse/2012/0814/Paul-Ryan-does-an-about-face-on-Ayn-Rand

      • Greg Goodknight says:

        I said most, not all, but leave it to Frisch to make it a cheap shot. Alan Greenspan was a convert to Objectivism and I believe remains in the fold.

        Rand had a strong point of view and few doubts. Her works are often the first exposure to libertarian theories that many people, like Ryan, run across.

        More accessible to many than John Locke’s Treatises on Government or the Wealth of Nations.

        • Steve Frisch says:

          How is that a cheap shot? It is a fact, that Mr. Ryan admits to and that that bastion of liberalism the Christian Science Monitor reported on.

          I will leave the cheap shots to Mr. Goodknight, who seems to be selectively cognizant of facts.

          • Greg Goodknight says:

            ‘to adults’ was a pure cheap shot.

            Alan Greenspan read it as an adult, too. As it was being written.

  5. Steve Frisch says:

    Come on Greg, you have to admit that both The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged are written for teenagers. The writing is simple, the whole Howard Roark/Dominque Francon romance/rape thing is juvenile; the Dagny/Hank thing is equally flat. They are books for kids.

  6. Greg Goodknight says:

    Not for kids, Frisch, she was just a very stiff writer. Never cared for her myself.

  7. Ben Emery says:

    Bob,
    Voting for either the Democratic or Republican parties is voting for big business and the continuation of this dysfunctional economic and political system. I vote for candidates not parties.

  8. Bjorn V says:

    Bob,
    I am in total agreement with you and am convinced that if enough voters would break away from the mind-numbing propaganda of the two major parties and vote according to their own principles, it would make an impact on American politics of amazing proportions. I will be voting outside the two-party box. I hope others, many others, will also. God bless American; may her enemies falter and fail.

  9. Ben Emery says:

    Todd,
    US Statistics on registered voters
    31% Democratic
    29% Republican
    40% independents of the big two

    Fear and the rigging of the system will not allow a third party to gain any power in the US government any longer. We have a two party system but the D’s and R’s have made the laws so that third parties cannot challenge their power and replace them as one of the big two parties. The last time it happened was in 1850′s when the Republicans replaced the Whigs. D’s and R’s have created a pretty dysfunctional economy and government and it is time for some new blood in control.

    • Todd Juvinall says:

      I am not talking about the registration BenE, I am talking about the voting results. Capiche?

      • Ben Emery says:

        Todd,
        So am I. If independents didn’t allow fear to get in the way we could throw the republicans and democrats out on their butts.

        Why have the people abandoned the D’s/R’s, vote in dismal numbers, switched to decline to state or third parties, and have given approval ratings of congress for about a decade that doesn’t get out of the teens? Our system is broken, corrupted, and dysfunctional. It is time to realize the idea of America that the people own and control our own government not big money special interests.

        • Todd Juvinall says:

          So those Indies you highly prize are just fearful little people then BenE? Just a bunch of herded goats? Amazing.

          • Ben Emery says:

            Todd,
            The willingness to break away from the status quo is the opposite of being fearful. I can’t tell you how many people I talk to who are registered republican and democratic that are disappointed and disgusted with the big two but don’t have the courage to move away from the parties and millions (50-90 million depending on election) more people just don’t participate, which is the worst thing we can do.

            The Tea Party surge in the Republican Party of 2010 only took place because only 43% of registered voters voted. Basically giving 23% of the electorate what they wanted. The 112th congress has a 10% approval rating, the American people aren’t pleases with what the TP voted into office.

          • Todd Juvinall says:

            BenE said, “If independents didn’t allow fear to get in the way we could throw the republicans and democrats out on their butts”

            So your aboive quote does not mean what you intended? I seem to see the word “fear”, am I seeing things?

          • Ben Emery says:

            Todd,
            You got me on that one. I should have used a different adjective but I will concede.

          • Ben Emery says:

            Talking about the use of “fearful” in the statement “The willingness to break away from the status quo is the opposite of being fearful.”

  10. Do employees of The Christian Science Monitor get health insurance?

  11. Ben Emery says:

    Doug,
    Here is an article on the trends of the federal money redistribution of our tax dollars and debt. I don’t have problem with the welfare programs but do have a problem with over $1 trillion being spent directly and indirectly into defense when our federal revenues last year were just over $2 trillion. I know personally in my extended family the only members I know of that use the services of welfare programs have been republicans. But then again about 3/4 of my relatives are republican.

    http://www.opednews.com/articles/Red-State-Remoras-by-Will-DeCoster-120319-602.html

  12. Douglas Keachie says:

    How can Republicans be driven out of work by Dem policies? My understanding was that they had a philosophy that ANYONE can make it in the USA, and only whiney freeloaders needed welfare.

    • Todd Juvinall says:

      Stifling laws, tax policies and regulations. Why do you think the manufacturing jobs left. Japan’s car labor rates 1/2 less than Detroit’s. Adios jobs. Read the newspapers fprthe last 45 years and get back to us.

      • Jesus Betterman says:

        The costs for labor were and are less, because Japan taxces enough to have a nation al health care system. This election is costing us 12 x $700, because we don’t dare risk taking my wife off my plan, for if she were to return later, in a Romney World, none of her pre-existing conditions would be covered. Open enrollment for us ends October 31, too early to save us $8,400 over the next year. She is fully covered at her present job, but there are no retirement medical benefits. We keep her on mine, for lifelong coverage, unless SF voters screw it up, for both of us.

        Thanks for the Ripoff Healthcare Plans, Republicans!

      • Steve Frisch says:

        Yeah, fellow Americans…workers should work here for the wages paid in China and Vietnam. Isn’t that what the market is all about? It had nothing to do with a national policy that reduced the real wages of workers leaving them stagnant or declining in purchasing power as costs rose, with all of the gains of the market being concentrated in those few at the top, who took that money off shore…ironically investing in places where low wages were the competitive advantage. Here is a message for the conservatarians….if workers can’t buy goods and services, producers have no market….capitalism is actually pretty simple boys…get a clue.

        • Todd Juvinall says:

          Your grasp pf economics is truly sad.

          • Steve Frisch says:

            What are the last five books you read on economics Todd? I could bury you with my comparative knowledge of economics; and I know that I am not an economist, which is why I read widely. But the bottom line is this: in the era of highest marginal top income tax rates, and lowest disparity between the top 10% and the bottom 10%, America prospered and enjoyed raising standards of living. When we reversed this trend by cutting top marginal tax rates and allowed the disparity between to top 10% and the bottom 10% to rise precipitously, based in intervention by the very government that you say should not intervene, America withered. Case friggin closed!

          • Ryan Mount says:

            > America prospered and enjoyed raising standards of living

            Correlation, is not causation. I’m assuming you are referring to the 1950s and 1960s when we indeed have extraordinarily high marginal rates. However actually collections have remained almost *exactly* the same since WWII. Care to explain that? (Hint: they were highest under Clinton, and lowest under Obama) Revenue as a percentage of GDP.

            http://www.deptofnumbers.com/blog/2010/08/total-tax-revenue.png

            I think the answer is obvious: our prosperity post-WWII was due to the fact that we literally bombed our competition into dust. Even our allies were scooping themselves out of the rubble. When you’re the last one standing, you win. Yippee for winning! Granted, that’s not a popular thing to pronounce. We Americans like to think that we’re successful by virtue of just being ‘Merikans.

            And it’s no coincidence that as soon as they (Japan, Germany, the UK) started coming back online in the late 60s and 70s (followed by Taiwan and China in the 80/90s), we started feeling the pressures of globalization. As I’ve recommended to others (not you Mr. Frisch), the obvious modest proposal is the USA needs to invade, conquer and colonialist our competition [again].

            As with everything, the solution is buried in the problem itself: the Progressive Tax system is a sham for all who play. Replace it with something that encourages productivity. But as long as we keep it in place, we will continue to have these meaningless discussions on who needs to pay more taxes.

          • Todd Juvinall says:

            Frisch, you buried yourself in ignorance. If you read those books (I really doubt it based on your response) then you need to add in the fees for service numbers and all the exaction’s applied as well as the cost of regulations and the value of risk. If you did this you would see how wrong you are. Your bluster is quite telling and amusing to us who actually work in the real world of business.

          • Ben Emery says:

            Ryan,
            I will put into a single sentence and then continue on. Trickle Down Economics has failed miserably for 98-99% of Americans.

            You analysis of US manufacturing is way off base. It had to do with returning vets who received GI bill and college education, which in turn produce high educated work force that had higher wages. Wages are the key to any sustainable economy. The US government invested heavily in our own infrastructure creating an advantage over other nations.

            If you really dig down into the philosophy as much as the numbers you will see that when Asia opened up as a labor market is when manufacturing started its departure from the US. We cannot right off selective import tariffs that were used for 2oo years and then basically abandoned within a decade and your claiming it as a coincidence. At the exact same time wages declined. We stopped investing in our own infrastructure in the same time period. We dramatically shifted our tax laws to favor the wealthy. If we actually had a government that looked after the interests of its citizens then it would abandon the philosophy of increasing the bottom line of big business. I think Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and those just like them could survive being worth hundreds of millions of dollars and paying a living wage in America instead of being multibillionaires and paying sweat shop wages while violating human rights. It is the incentives that changed not the market. Before the regulations, progressive taxation, and labor unions we had very similar conditions in the US. Big business is A-moral to be nice, whatever will increase their bottom line by a nickel they will do it. Make incentives to reinvest capital/ wealth back into labor, R&D, and expansion we could see a thriving manufacturing sector in the US once again. An economy that feeds itself by buying products it produces is the answer. The US despite having only 5% of the worlds population still tops the world in economies.

          • Ryan Mount says:

            Ben-

            Our tax progressive laws have always favored the wealthy. The numbers don’t fib. We can raise the marginal rates to our proletariat heart’s content and it will just de-incentivize investment and encourage people to move their money off shore among other things. I’ve seen it first hand with my very own eyes: wealthy people who brag that they don’t pay a dime in taxes…all legally.

            If my economic analysis of post WWII is guilty of anything, it’s more of the inadequate space a blog provides me to comment. I have no complaints about things like the GI Bill, nor the Interstate highway system that our victorious global triumph provided us, but I think it’s another proposition to claim that this happened in a vacuum. As if we had some magical period where we got it right. We didn’t. We won the war and everyone needed our manufacturing base the recover, among other things. (Again, this is a tough forum to explicate every detail)

            We invested because we could. Because we had excess and not because of high marginal rates that no one was paying. It’s a myth.

            I’m not advocating “trickle down” economics or any supply-side idiom, but when it comes to our old, broken, dysfunctional, grossly unfair taxation system that encourages capital to hide, for lack of a better word, I am adamant that we must change it to save the Republic. It’s the single issue that enables everything else in our Country. It’s hard, for example, to have a National Healthcare system with no revenue to cover it.

            Throw out the Progressive Tax system, replace it with a national 23% or so consumption tax, and pay out rebates to people under the poverty line to eliminate any specters of regressive policy. It would immediately eliminate whole “rich aren’t paying they fair share” complaints instantaneously.

          • Jesus Betterman says:

            The American GI came back prepared to re-enter the Depression, but he also came back with a “work like hell, work as a team, and do whatever it takes to kill the enemy” attitude.

            I think this probably had more to do with driving the 1950′s than anything.

          • Ryan Mount says:

            No one is saying people didn’t work hard. Nor that people aren’t continuing to work hard. The point is they didn’t have to manually rebuild their cities and industrial centers using shovels and wheelbarrows.

            I appreciate the pro-GI, pro-American worker perspectives. But it’s like saying the Amish are able to survive due to their practices and austere lives. No, they’re allowed to exist because they live in a modern country that protects them. Virtue, hard work or whatever is all trumped when you are bombed into dust. Horrors, thankfully, Americans didn’t have to experience.

            Regarding this rose-colored look back to a golden age of taxation in the 1950s, it simply did not exist. The numbers don’t show it.

            This is all part of the myth making of the victors. Or as Mel Brooks commented, “it’s good to be the King.” We are certainly more “lucky” than we are “exceptional.”

      • Jesus Betterman says:

        Here, read this, The Tea Party Fishing Expedition:

        http://www.flickr.com/photos/keachie/8134698774/in/photostream/lightbox/

  13. Jesus Betterman says:

    “Since 1961 Japan has provided universal health coverage, which allows virtually all access to preventive, curative and rehabilitative services at an affordable cost.[1]

    All residents of Japan are required by the law to have health insurance coverage. People without insurance through employers can participate in a national health insurance program administered by local governments. Patients are free to select physicians or facilities of their choice and cannot be denied coverage. Hospitals, by law, must be run as non-profit and be managed by physicians. For-profit corporations are not allowed to own or operate hospitals. Clinics must be owned and operated by physicians.

    Medical fees are strictly regulated by the government to keep them affordable. Depending on the family income and the age of insured patients, they are responsible for paying 10%, 20% or 30% of the medical fees, and the government pays the remaining fee.[2] Also, monthly thresholds are set for each households, again, depending on the income and age, where the medical fees exceeding the threshold are waived or reimbursed by the government. Uninsured patients are responsible to pay 100% of the medical fees, but fees are waived for low-income households receiving government subsidy. Fees are also waived for homeless people, when they are brought to the hospital by ambulance.”

    Wikipedia

  14. Jesus Betterman says:

    Another reason Japan can make cars cheaper, We con firm survey and anecdotal evidence that Japanese executives earn less than American| about one- fifth the pay:

    Abstract
    Most studies of executive compensation have data on pay but not total
    income. Because exchange-listed Japanese rms (unlike exchange-listed U.S.
    rms) need not disclose executive compensation gures in their securities
    lings, most studies on Japan lack even good data on pay. Through 2004,
    however, the Japanese tax oce disclosed the tax liabilities of the 73,000
    Japanese with the highest incomes. We obtained this data, and match the
    high-tax list against the list of CEOs of the rms listed on Section 1 of
    the Tokyo Stock Exchange. We thus estimate salaries and risk exposure in a
    new way. We con firm survey and anecdotal evidence that Japanese executives
    earn less than American| about one- fifth the pay, adjusting for rm size and
    outside income. Tobit regressions show that pay in Japan depends heavily
    on rm size (a .22 elasticity) and on accounting pro tability, but not on
    stock returns. Additionally, family-owned rms and those with large lead
    shareholders pay less to employee CEOs not in the family or with large
    shareholdings, as do rms whose directors have less tenure on the board.

    http://www.rasmusen.org/papers/exec/nakazato-ramseyer-rasmusen-exec.pdf

  15. Todd Juvinall says:

    Blinders become you Haysoose.

  16. Ben Emery says:

    Ryan,
    As you said a blog is a hard place to have these discussions but here we are so here I go, please forgive the jumping around. This is going to be broken up into a couple more comments

    You like many others make the claim that our exports grew to some huge numbers it didn’t. We grew at home and made the products ourselves creating a huge multiplier effect. If you look at the Marshall Plan it gave Europe the aid/ money it needed to rebuild their own nations. By early 1950′s most European nations were functioning at higher levels of economic output than they did pre-WWII. In the US our debt was at 127% of GNP when all these infrastructure investments happened today were are around 100% with a infrastructure shortfall estimated close to $3 trillion.

  17. Judith Lowry says:

    I think this kid speaks for many of us.

    http://youtu.be/OjrthOPLAKM

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