Saturday, August 29, 2015

The Rank Fallacies of Willis Hart #2: Bernie Sanders Truth-Telling Re Poor & Middle Class Being Worse Off

This commentary concerns an 8/22/2015 post by the Libertarian blogger Willis Hart in which he calls out Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders for a number of supposed "fallacies" that aren't fallacies.

The first of these bogus claims by Hart was that Bernie Sanders said "the economy is a fixed pie and that the only real question is how to divvy it up". This is something Senator Sanders has never said. He speaks of income inequality, not divvying up fixed pies (see OST #68 for my full response).

The second of Willis' phony "rank fallacies" as follows.

Willis Hart: The Rank Fallacies of Bernie Sanders... b) That the poor and middle class are worse off than they were decades ago. (8/22/2015 AT 3:13pm)

The poor and middle class ARE worse off than they were decades ago... relatively speaking. Bernie Sanders has never claimed that they are worse off in absolute terms.

As illustrated in the charts below, clearly middle and lower class incomes have been steadily declining... on a relative basis. Bernie Sanders speaks of a "40-year decline of our middle class and the growing gap between the very rich and everyone else", and (as these charts show) this ABSOLUTELY is the case.

The rank fallacy spreader here is Willis Hart. Although the economy continues to grow, most of those gains have gone to the top, with the middle class losing ground since 2010 (The Lost Decade of the Middle Class: Fewer, Poorer, Gloomier) and the poor actually being worse off than they were in 1983.

Image1: The middle class's share of aggregate income has fallen. Relatively speaking, the middle class is worse off than they were decades ago. (source of chart: Census Report Shows Middle Class Decline in 2011 by Benjamin Landy. The Century Foundation 9/13/2012).

Image2: This chart shows that in recent decades the rich are getting richer, the middle class and poor got richer, then poorer... with the poor worse off in 2010 than they were in 1983... so poor households are worse off than they were decades ago, both in relative and absolute terms. (Chart source: The Lost Decade of the Middle Class. Pew Research Center 8/22/2012).

OST #70

Friday, August 28, 2015

On The Warped Logic And Dogma Adherance of Willis Hart

This post concerns another commentary by the Libertarian blogger Willis Hart in which he calls out Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. This time for his "dogma" re a non-acceptance of the Libertarian argument against increasing the minimum wage.

Willis Hart: On the Warped Logic of Bernie Sanders... Alright, let's see if I've gotten this straight. He embraces the notion that by taxing carbon you get less carbon but he won't even entertain the notion that by making it much more expensive to employ people (through copious mandates) you get less employment... Nah, no dogma goin' on here. (8/25/2015 AT 9:49pm)

What's warped here is that Willis thinks the "if you tax something you get less of it argument" applies equally to the argument that says carbon can be reduced by taxing it to the Libertarian argument that says the minimum wage reduces employment.

This is an easy one to knock down because employers are already employing as few people as possible in order to make a profit. Or, that is their continual goal... as less people doing the same work means more profit. Does Willis think that with no minimum wage employers will hire people they don't need? What, out of charity?

Businesses exist to make money. They cannot make money if the work that they need to have done to make that money can't get done due to a lack of workers. Does Willis think they're going to fire people out of spite?

Unless the profit margin was very low and the wage increase eats up all the profit... and if that is the case... that business probably wasn't working with a good model to begin with.

I mean, if you look at the cost of labor as a percentage of the cost of a finished good or service, that percentage is usually quite low. For most industry sectors, labor represents less than 3 percent of the cost of the finished good or service (according to BizStats, a website that touts itself as "the home of free, accurate business statistics". Specifically the page "Cost of Labor: Cost of Goods Sold").

And, according to the US Department of Labor, it is a myth that "increasing the minimum wage will cause people to lose their jobs".

In a letter to President Obama and congressional leaders urging a minimum wage increase, more than 600 economists, including 7 Nobel Prize winners wrote, "In recent years there have been important developments in the academic literature on the effect of increases in the minimum wage on employment, with the weight of evidence now showing that increases in the minimum wage have had little or no negative effect on the employment of minimum-wage workers, even during times of weakness in the labor market. Research suggests that a minimum-wage increase could have a small stimulative effect on the economy as low-wage workers spend their additional earnings, raising demand and job growth, and providing some help on the jobs front." (Minimum Wage Mythbusters).

Taxing carbon, on the other hand, WILL cause companies to look for ways to reduce their output. Reducing the number of workers they need... that's something they're ALREADY doing. They're not currently looking for ways to reduce their carbon output because there is no cost to them spew as much carbon as they want (where as it would cost them to reduce their carbon).

A tax on carbon incentivize them to reduce their output. An increase in the minimum wage might further incentivize employers to try and reduce their workforce, however (1) that is something they are already doing anyway, and (2) paying workers more will stimulate the economy, thus producing more demand... so these businesses will likely need more workers to meet the increased demand.

Which is exactly what the US Department of Labor says. Raising the minimum wage will have an overall POSITIVE effect.

So, warped logic? Dogma? Nope to both. The only warped logic being adhered to is the warped logic that forms the basis of Libertarian ideology. The logic of Willis Hart, in other words. Bernie Sanders is NOT a Libertarian, and therefore rejects the BS that makes up Libertarian dogma. A person who has the facts on their side does not need to resort to dogma. Something that is clearly not the case with the Hartster.

OST #69

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Rank Fallacies of Willis Hart #1: Bernie Sanders Never Said The Economy Is A Fixed Pie

This post concerns an 8/22/2015 commentary by the Libertarian blogger Willis Hart in which he calls out Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders for a number of supposed "fallacies".

Problem is, instead of giving any "rank fallacies", Willis either lies (by attributing views to Bernie Sanders he has never expressed) or by insisting that ideological differences equate to a "fallacy" (Bernie doesn't agree with Willis' Libertarian views because Bernie Sanders isn't a Libertarian).

The first of these phony "rank fallacies" as follows.

Willis Hart: The Rank Fallacies of Bernie Sanders... a) That the economy is a fixed pie and that the only real question is how to divvy it up. (8/22/2015 AT 3:13pm)

Bernie Sanders has never said these words. I'm guessing that Willis believes Bernie Sanders speaking against the sky-high pay of some individuals is the same as saying the economy is a fixed pie? It isn't. Bernie Sanders opposes people taking a bigger slice of the GROWING pie than they deserve. Everyone knows that the US economy grows. When it shrinks that's called a recession, and when it doesn't grow that's stagnation.

But Willis scoffs at the idea that sky-high CEO pay reduces worker pay. According to Hart, "in the larger scope of things [the high pay is]... exceedingly insignificant". But Willis is wrong.

Paying a CEO an exorbitant amount of money does not magically increase the size of the "pie", it naturally (and logically) leaves less money for the workers. When you consider that CEO pay has grown 90 times faster than typical worker pay since 1978 (according to a 7/1/2015 EPI article, these individuals are OBVIOUSLY taking an increasingly larger size of the pie.

So, even though the pie is growing, some are taking a larger slice of that growth than others. That the pie is being divvied up unfairly is what Bernie Sanders is saying! Further proof that this is what is happening is the fact "that in 2009 and 2010, the first year of the current recovery the one percent captured 93% of the income growth".

According to a FED survey of consumer finances, the gap between rich and poor Americans widened during the recovery.

Average... pretax income for the wealthiest 10% of U.S. families rose 10% in 2013 from 2010, but families in the bottom 40% saw their average inflation-adjusted income decline over that period. (Fed: Gap Between Rich, Poor Americans Widened During Recovery by Ben Leubsdorf. 8/4/2014 The Wall Street Journal).

Bernie Sanders has NEVER said the economy doesn't grow. He has never said "the economy is a fixed pie and that the only real question is how to divvy it up". This is one of Willis Hart's infamous strawman.

The United States is the world's largest economy. Yet, in the last two decades... its growth rates have been decreasing. If in the 50's and 60's the average growth rate was above 4 percent, in the 70's and 80's dropped to around 3 percent. In the last ten years, the average rate has been below 2 percent... (Trading Economics).

The rate of growth has been steadily decreasing, while salaries for those at the upper end have been increasing at a MUCH faster rate than the salaries of everyone else. And, since the recession "ended", the wealthy (who saw their incomes go down... as EVERYONE'S did) have recovered (they got 93% of the income growth), while those at the bottom have seen their incomes go down.

Bernie Sanders is RIGHTLY concerned about this. For Willis to call this concern a "rank fallacy" is proof of Hart's rank stoogery in supporting the Libertarian oligarchy-serving fallacy of dismissing the ever-increasing wealth divide.

An example of an ACTUAL statement by Bernie Sanders... as opposed to words suck in his mouth by the lying strawman-loving Willis Hart?

Bernie Sanders: The issue of wealth and income inequality, to my mind, is the great moral issue of our time. It is the great economic issue of our time and it is the great political issue of our time. (Excerpt from a 7/1/2015 speech in Madison Wisconsin at the Alliant Energy Center before an estimated at 10k people).

In regards to this ACTUAL statement concerning income inequality (not fixed pies), PolitiFacts says "mostly true".

Politifact: [Sanders'] claim repeats a finding from a study by two internationally known economists that were supported by two other major economists we contacted. But the study has been criticized, for example, for not including Social Security in the wealth calculations. For a claim that is accurate but needs additional information, a rating is Mostly True. (Bernie Sanders, in Madison, claims top 0.1% of Americans have almost as much wealth as bottom 90%).

A rating of "mostly true" is leagues away from a "rank fallacy", you liar Willis! This is why the Hartster's claim of "rank fallacy" gets a rating of "strawman-pants-on-fire" from me.

Image: French economist Thomas Piketty has warned that unfettered capitalism will lead to even more grotesque wealth inequality because returns on investments like stocks and real estate - stuff the wealthy own - generally outpace economic growth and wages. That warning is looking more and more like a reality in the US, which has seen much more of its income growth going to its top 1 percent of earners in recent decades than any other developed country.

OST #68

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Shooting Prognosticators In A Barrel

This post concerns a prognostication from the Conservative blogger Rusty Shackelford that turned out to not be that accurate. As well as another from the Libertarian Willis Hart that came closer, but still missed the mark.

Rusty Shackelford: Shit... even Rusty could write the Republican AD's for 2012, fish in a barrel. In 2008 Obie was just the former community organizer and junior Senator without a past. In 2012 he will be forced to run on his record and all the flowery hope and change B.S. wont mean a thing. (7/6/2011 AT 9:28pm).

Willis Hart: In a normal environment, I would probably agree with you, Russ. But with the Republicans currently in such disarray (and even unpopular in certain states like Florida or Ohio) and the huge dissatisfaction with the Republican field, I would have to give Mr. "Obie" (why do you have to call him that, Russ - he is the President, after all?) at least a 50-50 chance next year... Me - I'd still like to see Bloomberg get in. (7/6/2011 AT 9:28pm).

Obviously we know that Barack Obama retained the presidency when the votes were tallied. Much to the chagrin of Karl Rove, who, I'm convinced, was positive that GOP operatives had fixed the results for Romney. (see second video below).

Whether Anonymous prevented the election from being fixed or not, Rusty was obviously dead wrong with his prediction. Willis Hart's prediction of 50-50 was essentially meaningless, as around 50-50 is how presidential elections have been going for awhile now. As for Obama winning due to "the Republicans currently in such disarray", I say... maybe.

They certainly did their damndest to obstruct the Obama agenda and to purposefully hold back a recovery (as per their Caucus Room Conspiracy). And it met with a lot of success, in that the recovery was weak and the American people were fooled (blaming the Obama Administration for Republican obstructionism). This, plus the normal dirty tricks (disenfranchising voters as well as vote manipulation) and they got close.

But the disarray, I believe, is not something that can be categorized as "current". I would say current and ongoing. If by "disarray" you mean not appealing to a majority of the voters. However, if by "disarray" you mean not cheating to the max, then no, they I say they are still working that game.

Working it because it is the only way they can win (by cheating). By the way, even though bush LOST the popular vote by 543.89 thousand in 2000, and "won" it by 3.01 million in 2004, the conservative media declared that the 2nd "win" was a decisive mandate for bush's agenda.

Compare that to Obama, who won the popular vote by 9.55 million in 2008 and 4.98 million in 2012 - and he has no mandate for his agenda. If he spent his political capital to pass the ACA, then why didn't Republicans accept it as the "law of the land" instead of (futilely) voting to repeal it so many times?

Instead he is actively obstructed. Even when Obama attempted to meet the Republicans halfway and included ideas in his legislation that previously received Republican support!

My point is that Obama's record is more the Republican's record (of obstruction). He would have done MUCH better if the GOP had acknowledged HIS mandate (a mandate larger than bush's). So - Rusty wrong in regards to Obama running on "his record" in 2012 and Willis wrong in regards to the Republicans being in "disarray". Both wrong in regards to Obama's chances of winning. He won by a narrower margin than in 2008, but still came out further ahead (popular vote wise) than did bush when he ran against Kerry in 2004 (Obama won that one with 1.97 million more popular votes than bush).

In regards to Willis defending Obama re Rusty's disrespect (don't call him Obie)... NOW the Hartster says he does not like him personally as well as politically (5/11/2013).

Video1: Fox News, Karl Rove Argue Over The Outcome In Ohio (2:50).

Video2: Sam Seeder discusses the claim by the hacker group Anonymous that they prevented Karl Rove from stealing the 2012 election (2:43).

OST #67

Friday, August 14, 2015

On How The Willis Hart Strawman Construction Went Down

This commentary concerns a recent strawman argument from the Libertarian blogger Willis Hart...

Willis Hart: On How the Shit Went Down... a) A bunch of surface-thinking liberals and neoliberals take the South Carolina church shootings and idiotically extrapolate from them that there is this full-scale war on black people in which white racists/rednecks (wearing sheets and carrying the Confederate banner) are going around shooting them en masse. b) I point out that interracial violence is actually very rare but to the degree that it does exist, black on white violent crime is approximately 25 times more likely (per capita) to occur than the opposite (I also pointed out that research is advanced by examining aggregates and not by looking at anecdotes but that apparently went over their noggins, too). c) I get called a racist by these folks... That's it, in a nutshell, people. (8/2/2015 AT 4:24pm).

The "shit" that went down in this commentary is bullshit, in that Willis is bullshitting himself in regards to his racism. Which caused him to construct this strawman in which he lies about what the "surface-thinking" Liberals were "extrapolating" as well as what he was saying about "interracial violence" and "anecdotes".

The strawman is that Liberals (Octopus, I'm guessing) and Neoliberals (rAtional nAtion, I presume) ever said there was a "full-scale war on black people in which White racists/rednecks are going around shooting them en masse". Or that this racist redneck army is "wearing sheets and carrying the Confederate banner". This is an utterly over-the-top and completely ridiculous characterization of what was actually said... which is that the current situation that involves police shooting unarmed Black people and racially motivated shootings are cause for concern.

And that the Confederate flag represents racism, in that it was the banner of the Southern seceding states which wanted to leave the union because they were worried about Abe Lincoln getting elected and the Republican Party being opposed to slavery. Lincoln told the South "you think slavery is right and should be extended, while we think it is wrong and should be limited. That, I suppose, is the trouble. It surely is the only important difference between us". But the Southern states disagreed, thinking the difference was important enough for them to worry about Lincoln seeking to end slavery. Or cause them trouble, at least.

Although the neoliberal would disagree on this point; the neoliberal being in agreement with Willis that the Civil War being fought because of tariffs (although they are wrong).

But I'm pretty sure he agrees that most African Americans view the flag in a negative light and would prefer it would be removed from the grounds of government buildings... due to the fact that Southern State governments are now supposed to be representing everyone (including Black folks who view the flag as a sign that perhaps Southern State governments aren't working for them equally).

But the primary issue would be the police shootings, you know, because there is no "full-scale war on black people in which white racists/rednecks are going around shooting them en masse". And ZERO liberals and neoliberals ever said there was. At least in the discussion Willis refers to... there MIGHT be some morons out there who have said such a thing.

The police shootings, no, do not stack up against the number of African Americans who are killed by other African Americans.... HOWEVER, there is an important point that Willis seems to overlook, which is that the police are supposed to "serve and protect", while criminals (whatever their race) do violence. Police are supposed to only do violence to criminals, and then only if necessary. They are NOT supposed to be gunning down (or choking) unarmed people! Even if they are committing crimes.

The proliferation of "I think he had a gun, I feared for my life and so I shot the suspect dead" excuse points to... panicky cops, panicky racist cops, or racist cops... IMO. And NONE of these possibilities are good. Nor should the cops be using excessive force... like (for example) choking a Black man to death for selling loosies, kneeling on the back of a young teen at a pool party, arresting someone and throwing them in jail (where they later die) for not signaling a lane change.

It is ridiculous and has to stop! Yeah, and we think that racism is probably a factor in many (perhaps not all) of these cases. That is all the "surface-thinking liberals and neoliberals" are saying. That these cops obviously need to be better trained. And screened for racists or people who get off on exerting power over others. We don't want those types as police officers. We are NOT saying what the strawman-constructing Willis sez we are saying. What Willis is saying is total BS. Which is why he sez it! (it's an easy strawman to refute).

Willis' "nutshell", is a racist one, I believe. One reason being everything I just mentioned apparently going over his noggin. Because "black on white violent crime is approximately 25 times more likely (per capita) to occur than the opposite"... that makes the fact that cops are killing Black people OK in his mind... I guess (it's "anecdotal" in comparison).

Yes, I have noticed on his blog that he has (not one time that I'm aware of) said, "OK, it's obvious this time that the cop was in the wrong to kill that Black person". Not once. A cop shoots a Black man in the back as he flees, then plants his taser on him... and crickets from Willis. Although he often writes multiple posts (per "anecdotal" incident) of a Black person getting killed... when he thinks they deserved it.

Image: Slow motion GIF shows former cop Michael Slager allegedly planting his taser near the body of Walter Scott. (Image attached to a 4/9/2015 "Opposing Views" article by Dominic Kelly).

OST #66

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The Canardo That Quacked

File this under the category of "interesting". An observation I made some time ago that was (at the time) referred to as "quacking". by "quacking" this person meant I was lying about the subject I posted on, which was an extremely hostile reaction I got after I submited a comment (as a joke) to the blog of the Libertarian Willis Hart.

Dervish Sanders on 9/29/2013: In an anti-creationist post (a position I actually agree with him on, as I believe in science over creationism, as all intelligent people do) Willis Hart wrote that there are "NO reputable scientists who still DON'T believe the earth is less than billions of years old". This, you may note, is a double negative, which means that Mr. Hart was actually saying that reputable scientists believe the earth is less than a billion years old.

Another Blogger (Jerry Critter) pointed out to him that "general consensus (I know you don't like those words) puts the age of the earth at over 4 billion years".

Given the double negative, Jerry thought Willis was saying the earth is less than 4 billion. But Willis said no, he had made an error (with the double negative) and he corrected it.

Then I, as a joke - and as a test to see if Mr. Hart was reading comments from me... something he previously said he was not doing (he banned me from his blog and said he was deleting my comments without reading them) - submited a comment in which I said "Will tried to slip a lie by and Jerry called him on it... again!".

In response to my accusation of a lie, an ANGRY Willis posted the following two comments...

Willis Hart: What are you fucking talking about, you fucking piece of shit (yeah, my eyes wandered on this one)? I made a grammatical error (and even so BB knew what I was talking about) and I fixed it. What's the mother-fucking lie, you mother-fucker? (9/28/2013 AT 8:54pm)

Willis Hart: See, this is the difference between you and Jerry (and why we all seem to like him and detest you). He accepts it when a person makes a mistake and doesn't go looking for some ulterior motive (probably because he isn't mildly retarded and/or paranoid) like you constantly do. You really do need to get some attention, fella'. (9/28/2013 AT 9:02pm).

Willis posted my joke comment, but went back to ignoring me after that. So I decided to respond on my own blog with the following observation.

Dervish Sanders on 9/29/2013: Wow, this Will Hart fella certainly has a temper, doesn't he? Maybe Mr. Hart should get some attention... before he hurts someone and gets in trouble with the law (I can easily see him escalating a verbal altercation into violence).

In any case... the comment surely got his attention (so, the joke worked). Also (for the record) this joke is not one I'd have made normally (that is, if I were not banned from Mr. Hart's blog). So, when Mr. Hart says "this is the difference between you and Jerry", he is wrong. Back when Mr. Hart actually permitted me to comment on his blog... this isn't a comment I would have made. The comments I submit now (for the most part) are the same as when I wasn't banned, but some aren't. Hart couldn't have made this distinction (why "they" like Jerry but detest me) before because I wouldn't have made this comment before.

In reaction to my joke comment getting posted (because Willis' eyes wandered onto it), the commenter I previously mentioned (after Willis' tirade of profanity), submitted (to the blog of Willis) the following (which was published).

Rational Nation USA: Now Will, we've discussed this before. It does no good to allow Mr. Canardo Sanders to drag you down to his level. Simply accept him for what he is, make your point respectfully, and then ignore him. He is demonstrably and certifiably off his rocker. (9/29/2013 AT 6:33pm).

And on my blog (in response to me commenting on this incident) he submitted this...

Rational Nation USA: Keep quacking Mr. Sanders, keep quacking. (9/29/2013 AT 9:38pm).

I did not know what he meant by "quacking", so I said "quacking in the context above means? I'm going to guess telling the truth". In response to my guess as to what he meant by quacking, the following remark was forthcoming...

Rational Nation USA: No Canardo, more like in telling lies. But really Canardo, who gives a f**k? (10/06/2013 AT 11:16pm).

Note that "Canardo" is a liar (as decoded here). He was saying I lied about something. What, exactly, I am not sure. Did I lie about my comment being a joke? Did I lie about Willis losing his temper and launching into a heavy-on-the-profanity response? Who knows? The individual in question never explained what I was quacking/lying about. Only that I was quacking.

If the quacking was in regard to Willis losing his temper, perhaps now there is some agreement in regards to that?

The following comment from this same person (approximately 21 months later) on this blog in response to a post in which I asked why Willis called out Randal Paul for his "temper" in regards to the "dust up" between Randal and Chris Christie during the Fox Nooz Repub "debate".

Rational Nation USA: It is curious that my once friend Will jumped on Paul for temper, It is quite possible that Will himself has a temper when questioned. (8/11/2015 AT 7:58pm).

Huh. Remember that I said (21 months ago) that "this Will Hart fella certainly has a temper". At the time Mr. Nation said (about me) "He is demonstrably and certifiably off his rocker"... on Willis' blog. On my blog he accused me of "quacking".

Now he makes the same observation himself (re Willis' temper). Does this mean that Mr. Nation is "quacking"? I do not know, as I was never sure what I was quacking about. It does seem, however, that my comments about Willis' temper are now being met with some agreement. Perhaps I was not so "off my rocker" after all?

OST #65

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Willis Hart WTF Re The Rand Paul V Chris Christie Dust-Up During Fox potus Interview

This extremely strange commentary from the Libertarian blogger Willis Hart. Strange, in that he (as a Libertarian) sides with the fellow who believes violating the 4th Amendment is "keeping us safe" from "the terrorists" and against the other fellow who is fighting to protect our rights.

Willis Hart: On the Rand Paul Versus Chris Christie Dust-Up at Last Night's Debate... I hate to say this because I a) kinda like the guy and b) tend to agree with him on the issue of surveillance but Mr. Paul last night - not Gene Hackman going after Richard Harris in "Unforgiven" totally out of control enough... Yeah, dude's got a temper. (8/8/2015 AT 9:33pm).

OK, so he "hates to say it"... so why the hell does he? Randal defended himself from an attack by Christie while defending American's 4th amendment rights. Something Willis, as a Libertarian, should be solidly behind. Yet he objects on the bullshit grounds that Randal was "totally out of control" and that "the dude's got a temper".

Huh? I'm not a fan of Randal Paul AT ALL. I'm no fan of Christie either, but on this Randal was right and Christie was way wrong. I side 100 percent with Randal on this issue. And I *thought* Willis did too. He does say he "tends" to agree with Randal. So why attack him for baloney reasons that don't matter one way or the other?

Randal argued his position forcefully. I saw no indication that he was "out of control" or that "the dude's got a temper". But SO WHAT if he did get "out of control" or lose his temper? He was right! That's all that really matters. Maybe Willis thinks it looked bad? Of course it did! But not because of any baloney about Randal being out of control or losing his cool.

It looked bad (to Republicans) because Republicans don't agree with his position. Christie was spewing BS about bulk data collection being needed and a warrant not being the proper way to obtain records because... NINE ELEVEN!! Be afraid! Which the audience applauded.

This is one of the reasons why Randal won't get the nomination. He's in step with the Repubs on abortion, idiotically declaring that life begins at conception and wanting to defund Planned Parenthood (despite being Libertarian and Libertarians usually being pro-choice), but he's out of step with the Repubs when it comes to the surveillance state. At least the other Repubs running for potus, the Fox Nooz interviewers who conducted the "debate" and the audience members who applauded.

Largely it's Libertarians and Progressives who are on the side of the Constitution on this one. Republicans mostly support the surveillance state that began as a response to 9-11 under the gwb administration. And, now that we've got a Democratic president who supports it, it seems the Insider Dems have fallen in line and thrown their support behind the mass data collection that is a blatant violation of our 4th amendment rights. Sadly.

Although Randal seemed to be of the same mind (it's OK if a president of your own party does it), saying that he doesn't trust Obama. I guess he likely said this because he thought Repub voters might come around to his way of thinking by fearmongering re the "lawless" Obama administration? So he didn't say he wouldn't want any executive (regardless of party) to do this?

For the record, recent legislation (the USA Freedom Act) did (thanks to Randal) amend the patriot act so that now it's the telecoms who are bulk collecting our data and only handing it over if the government has a targeted warrant (as opposed to the government collecting and holding onto it. Or a private contractor holding onto it in the name of the government).

Frankly, I don't think this new system is that great either.

"We're taking something that was not permitted under regular section 215 ... and now we're creating a whole apparatus to provide for it", Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., said on Tuesday night during a House Rules Committee proceeding.

"The language does limit the amount of bulk collection, it doesn't end bulk collection", Rep. Amash said, arguing that the problematic "specific selection term" allows for "very large data collection, potentially in the hundreds of thousands of people, maybe even millions".

In a statement posted to Facebook ahead of the vote, Rep. Amash said the legislation "falls woefully short of reining in the mass collection of Americans' data, and it takes us a step in the wrong direction by specifically authorizing such collection in violation of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution". (USA Freedom Act Passes House, Codifying Bulk Collection For First Time, Critics Say by Sam Sacks. The Intercept 5/13/2015).

For the record, Justin Amash is a Republican who endorsed Ron Paul for President in 2012 believes in "limited government, economic freedom, and individual liberty". Sounds like he's a Libertarian masquerading as a Republican like Randal (both are anti-choice, btw).

So, the question here is why does Willis - a "small l Libertarian" who "tends" to agree with Randal Paul (re data collection) - why does the Hartster let that "tend to" agreement drop and go after Randal for his "temper"?

A WTF moment for sure. Beyond that I can't say more, because Willis doesn't. He says he "tends" to agree with Randal, but on this specific issue (one that HE HAS CHOSEN to blog on, mind you) he says nothing. Instead of saying if he agrees with Paul on THIS issue - he focuses on Randal's "temper" and says nothing re our Constitutional rights being violated. Perhaps because Willis is more Conservative than Libertarian? Or maybe he's just a surface thinker?

Video: Chris Christie & Rand Paul spar over NSA during the 8/6/2015 Fox News Republican "Debate". This being one of the few instances of actual debate (3:33).

OST #64

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Evolving Willis #1: Planned Parenthood 180 Degree Flip-Flop

The Libertarian blogger Willis Hart recently, in reaction to PP "chopping up kids and selling the parts", decided that PP should be defunded, in agreement with our current Republican Congress.

Willis Hart: Yes, continue to provide poor people with birth control but do it in a different way and let PP get their cash the old fashioned way; by earning it and through private donations. (7/29/2015 AT 10:15pm).

But wait... seems as though this is a 180 degree flip-flop from his previous position on PP.

Willis Hart: I just thought of three more instances where I disagree with conservatives; a) funding for planned parenthood, b) public financing of elections, and c) the proposed Muslim center in NYC. And I better stop talking before Mr. Rusty starts lumping me in with you. (8/31/2011 AT 7:26pm).

This was in reaction to me saying that Willis believes Conservatives are more correct than Liberals. That is, he more often agrees with Conservatives than with Liberals.

It was true then, and even more true today. The Hartster has become even more Conservative than he was (a little less than a month shy of) 4 years ago. This complete 180 degree U-turn on PP being but one example of his evolving political positions (flip-flops). (More examples to come in the "evolving series", of which this post is but the first installment).

Also note that he's giving his blessing for PP to continue to "provide poor people with birth control" IF they can make up the 500 million in government funding (and aren't forced to close their doors). By charging those poor people more ("earning it") or getting more donations (as if they are currently turning down funders).

But what about abortions? Outlaw them? Willis doesn't say. Why not? Why only say birth control is what PP should continue to do? The topic of HIS OWN POST was abortions, not birth control. And (now) he seems pretty hostile to doing something constructive and beneficial to society with the fetal tissue... tissue that's going to continue to be generated unless abortions are outlawed.

But, wow! What a flip-flop, huh? Before he was for government funding. And he pointed out that this was something he thought important to mention as a subject he disagrees with Conservatives on. Now he's in complete agreement (re defunding) with anti-choice Conservative radicals.

For the record, the "chopping up kids" comment was not something Willis wrote (a commenter on his blog was responsible for this ridiculousness)... although Willis did not object nor note any disagreement with this insane characterization of PP "selling" (losing money or only recouping their costs) fetal tissue for needed and very beneficial medical research (research that has saved many, many lives).

OST #63