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29 March 2011


Bob W

I am sure Steve would be the one that decided if something was inappropriately allowed to be posted. Now I need to know what consequences Steve intends to impose?

Paul Emery

In a different time people of differing ideas could debate with respect without compromising their values. This is a link to a 1969 debate between William Buckley, my favorite Conservative and Noam Chomsky, Professor of Linguistics at MIT and someone whose opinion I respect immensely. I do not intend to make this a furtherance of their debate but more an example of respectful but civil dialogue. It was a different era. no computers or prompters, live with an audience. I would love to see that kind of conversation within our community.


bill tozer

What possibly could go wrong?

Mikey McD

George, I am a bit confused as to why you gave this 'topic' a post of its own; I have settled on the fact that you are simply refuting erroneous claims against your [above reproach] character.

Am I to trust a mob intent on decreasing my personal liberty (pillaging my private property to line their own pockets to fund their agendas and now attempting to limit my free speech)?

Am I to trust a human that has promised multiple times to leave your blog forever, only to return time and time again?

I greatly value the honest dialogue available on RR. I anxiously await the comments by Crabb, Emery, and others whom I would otherwise never have the pleasure of associating with or talking philosophy/econ/politics. I know who the trouble makers are and I simply exercise my right to ignore them.

George, thank you for your labors.

Dixon Cruickshank

Paul, Carbby and others do add so much, we may not agree but points are well made - not so at the other place. I hope you do not abandon the open discussions that appear here, although I guess Frisch himself crossed the line, so why is he setting the rules - just wondering?

John Galt

I do not recall reading disparaging words directed towards Bill Tozer, Paul Emery, or RL Crabb on this blog....this has occurred without any "special" rules.

I too share some of Mikey McD's reluctance to impose a muzzle. Yet I share Paul Emery's desire for a more respectful conversation.

Perhaps if Paul, Bill, and RL Crabb commented more often that would eliminate the need for "regulating" this blog.

Larry Wirth

George, you're wise enough not to negotiate against yourself. Your articles are, as you stated, accurate in your characterizations of those opposed to the American way, but have been free (and I'm a daily visitor, infrequent commentor) of personal invective. Change nothing to help the enemies of free speech. See you in a couple of weeks. L

Michael Anderson

This whole thing started with the infamous Rebane/Frisch interview with Paul Emery on KVMR. Let's have a rematch. It's time...


While we're waiting, let's rumble over here: http://www.wwelivetour.com/eventlistings

RL Crabb

The biggest problem you'll have in maintaining a civil discourse is the impending 2012 election cycle. Bloggers tend to be at the far edges of the political landscape, as well as those who comment. Neither side has any desire to compromise in the interest of maintaining a balance. We have come to the point of total victory or defeat, a war that is unlikely to be won by either faction without tearing the country apart.

I imagine the only people who are happy about this are the Russians, Chinese, and extreme Islamists, who will sit back and wait for us to do what they are incapable of doing.

Todd Juvinall

RL you are correct. But you should tell that to the Senate Democrats who have refused for 41 days to to even vote on the US Budget. These are you mainstream democrats I guess since you claim bloggers are all extremists. Fix that would ya?

Paul Emery

Obstruction by party loyalists is an equal opportunity practice. Just look at how the Republican minority in the California Legislature is preventing the people from having a say in solving the budget crisis. Why not give the people a chance to vote. What harm can come from that?

Todd Juvinall

Paul, focus now, give me your reasons why the democrats in Congress and Obama did not have a budget while they held majorities for two years. Also, focus on the State of California. Why is it the R's fault when the state democrats hold almost super-majorities and the governorship and every statewide office. Why is it the little old R's fault? Sheesh!

Greg Goodknight

I have no reason to believe this non-negotiable pledge of Frisch's would work. I suggested at Russ' that he just practice what he was now preaching; steve didn't take that well at all.

The 2012 election cycle may turn ugly... expect the only winners to be political cartoonists...

RL Crabb

Forgive my pessimism, but after cruising these blogs for over a year I find it hard to believe any of the leopards are going to change their spots, especially when they smell blood. By the end of the year, there will be plenty of political ichor as the alphas really begin to square off in New Hampshire, or Iowa, or Florida, or wherever.

And don't forget all the potential recall elections that will be happening across the midwest. Yes, it will be good for my profession, but just between you and me I'd rather be drawing funny bunnies or something that would make people laugh.

Paul Emery


Why not let the people vote? Simple. The Dems are going to pound on the Republican fragments in California on this and they won't likely recover for years. The time proven way to win in politics is to claim and possess the middle and if the Republican party is pushed too far to the right it will be PARTY!!! time for the Dems and they'll clean up. History over and over shows the lessons of overreaching, Bad politics.

We're off topic here but perhaps it's an example of how we can talk without personnel attacks.

Todd Juvinall

The dems have had the place for fifty years so any blame goes to them.. Every single time they need one or two rep votes they find them and pass a budget that they never allow a repub any say in. California looks like the liberals have it forever more so any attempts at compromise must come from the dems. Also, the election to drop the budget to a 50% plus one used to be the elephant. My oh my how we heard how those evil repubs were holding things up and all we needed was to neuter them with a majority vote. Well, Prop 26 slipped on thru and now these evil repubs are needed to raise taxes so the dems can diss them again in the budget. What is the old saying? Fool me once?

Greg Goodknight

Paul, one good collapse of the formerly great state of California could do wonders to knock the Democratic Party off its perch. The rise of the Democrats here as a monopoly party parallels the rise of public employee union collective bargaining, which started in Jerry Brown's first governorship.

There's no Republicans in state government. Dems own the state, Dems own the outcome, without even a figurehead RINO as guv. Property values and taxes are tanking, businesses are moving out. From the 'blood from a turnip' principle, there isn't a pot of gold at the end of the initiative.

I continue to expect the equivalent of bankruptcy for the state, and it won't be pretty. A lot like Greece after their austerity measures were imposed, only not as restrained.

George Rebane

"Why not give the people a chance to vote. What harm can come from that?"

When at least half cannot reliably identify the subject of a paragraph, the people don't pay significant taxes, and are already on transfer payments, the deadly weaknesses of a democracy come front and center. That's why the Founders gave us a republic instead, and that's why the enemies of the republican form of government are always appealing for democracy. They know what the sheeple don't.

Account Deleted

I'm laughing already - sure! Bring it on. Remember the "can't we all just get along" from a scant few months ago? The pious libs and Dems begged for courteous discourse whilst they sharpened their knives. It'll be Heckle and Jeckle from now on! (young'ns can Google that) We will have to play by the rules of the thinnest of skins. Terms such as "personal responsibility" are racist and verboten. "Verboten" might be verboten. And there are "code" words for which only the illuminati of the left have the decrypters. How about the added proviso of no cursing or taking the Lord's name in vain? Could be a scam by the FUE to build traffic hits on his site as we check for compliance. Oops - maybe FUE is no longer Kosher -er, I mean Halal. Paul is already using violent imagery to describe how the Dems will defeat the R's in California. Is that OK within the new rules?

Mikey McD

Paul, how about this instead of a costly special election?
“The governor [Jerry Brown] has said he will ask Californians to decide what services they are willing to give up or pay more for.”

Govenor Brown cannot trust polls or the daily op/ed piece for this information. I have an easy, affordable and efficient solution:

Include a 1 page scantron / web based questionnaire form to be completed with state income tax forms April 15th (tied to a tax payer id #/ SS#). Each taxpayer can select the services which they choose to fund with their tax payments. The form is not binding in any way, it simply collects data to answer the Governors own question “What services are Californians willing to give up and/or pay more for?”

Submission with tax returns insures 1.) taxpayers get a voice/vote and 2.) no one is able to vote more than once.

Do Californians want debt reduction, better roads, more money to education, fire protection, etc etc? This easy to extract information would be invaluable.

By May 1st 2011, just 5 months after inauguration, the Governor would have a clear mandate from Californians.

Paul Emery

Under Browns proposal the Democrats won't be raising taxes the people will. Why do you feel they should not have the opportunity to vote on this? Up or down-yes or no. very simple. Let the Republicans and Democrats make their pitch and the people decide. This has nothing to do with how we got here. Brown is very smart and he'll run the Republicans ragged on this.

Greg if you think the best way for the Republicans to advance is to pick up the pieces after the total collapse of California you are asking for a dark angel to intervene. I still like across the board percentage cuts on all government spending, Also, whack corporate welfare and subsidies. Neither party likes that because that's how they get their dough by feeding special interests.

George I thought you support the proposition process? You were a big supporter of prop 23 both before and after it was placed on the ballot. This is new information to me. And Prop 13? The people spoke right. You can't have it both ways. Give the people a vote on things you feel might carry the day and oppose on principle the idea of voting on something that will likely go the opposite way you prefer. Really George.....

George Rebane

Mikey, I like your solution very much.

Paul, you may again be confusing two distinct and independent notions. I have always objected to the proposition process per se. I think it's a sleazy cop out for elected politicians who duck the hard decisions in governance.

But my objections were considered irrelevant and the proposition process continues apace. Given that, I have every right, along with all other Californians, to back or oppose propositions as they are presented to the electorate. Capice?

Mikey McD

Paul, "Why do you feel they should not have the opportunity to vote on this?" BECAUSE THE MAJORITY DO NOT PAY TAXES. "This has nothing to do with how we got here." TO ONLY CONCENTRATE ON THE REVENUE (READ TAX) SIDE OF THE EQUATION IS IRRATIONAL; MASSIVE CUTS ARE REQUIRED (AND A STARVING OF THE PUBLIC EMPLOYEE EMPIRE).

John Galt

If it's right to let the people vote to extend taxes, isn't it equally fitting the the people should vote on:
1) Whether or not to dismantle the current government pension system and replace it with a hybrid that includes elements of a traditional defined- benefit plan and a 401(k) defined-savings account.

2) Whether or not to approve for a cap on state spending based on a formula tied to inflation and population change.

3) Whether or not to rescind environmental regulations which they say hinder business growth.

That's all the Republican leadership required. For some reason, Governor Brown felt that only his tax extension was meritorious enough for the people to vote on.

I favor voting on all of them.

I think most organization could find ways to reduce their budget by 15% in a pinch. We're in a pinch now. The current deficit represents 18% of the budget. So Gov Brown should allow a vote on what to cut AND what to tax.

p.s. Will "dog whistles" be permitted on this blog under Steve's rules?

RL Crabb

I think we all know that there are armies of lawyers busily preparing to take any proposed budget cut to court. Having a "mandate" from the voters won't make any difference. (Think Prop 8) Special interest money rules California.

However, I wouldn't be so certain that voters will blame the Dems alone if the ship goes down. There might not be any winners in this game of political chicken.

Paul Emery

George, I dislike the proposition process as well but will support propositions one way or the other out of self defense . Brown is presenting this as an either or proposition which gets him off the hook when he makes ugly cuts. Very smart. The Republicans can't win on this one. Perhaps they can be saved by the Endangered Species Act.

We're not necessarily disagreeing here Mikey. I support tax cuts but a flat % on all programs, departments etc. It would take the politics out of it and let's eliminate corporate welfare . The subsidies we pay oil companies are unbelievable.

Larry Wirth

You Californians are so screwed by the governent you have elected, it's not even funny anymore. Please, when you flock next door, don't bring your incredible, failed politics with you. Please, don't Californicate Arizona the way you did in Oregon and Nevada. Those who support the 'California Way' stay there and rot and don't spread the socialist disease to your neighbors, again. L

Larry Wirth

BTW, the illegals who daily transit my neighborhood are no problem for me; they're not trying to resettle or reclaim Arizona. They are headed for the once-Golden State to reclaim a place where in more than two hundred years of occupation they didn't even manage to discover Yosemite Valley. I suppose after the Caliberals have repatriated enough of them they
will cast their eyes on the rest of the Mexican irredenta, but by that time I'll probably be elsewhere, heaven... Progressives make want to vomit. L

D. King

Paul Said:

"Brown is presenting this as an either or proposition which gets him off the hook when he makes ugly cuts."

Ding Ding Ding...Bingo!

A brilliant move on Brown's part.

BUT, it won't matter when the cuts come, and they're coming, lawyers and courts or no lawyers and courts.

“Green Jobs” can ONLY exist with BIG subsidies, so, were I a Republican legislator, I’d just keep my head down and let the tsunami wash over the top.

Todd Juvinall

What is intriguing to me about Paul's mantra of let the people vote is this. We did and they spoke loud and clear November second. The people decided to proceed as usual with a democrat hegemonic government and leadership but with one caveat. Prop 26. So Paul, the people have voted as you wished. Now the democrats want to disregard the vote by trying to lay some guilt on the R's! The Gov and his minions in the Dome have decided what THEY want and without any regard for compromise. Why should R's give up the only thing the people have given them in trust, their vote, for a package of crap the democrats propose without a cent of input from us? Sorry, I think the people did speak loud and clear. Democrats have total control but for one thing, tax increases. I guess the voters are not totally stupid in California.

Mike Sherman

Make nice, on a blog? I don't think it will work. Anyone with any common sense knows that liberalism really is a mental disorder. There is no point in engaging with idiots.

See, what did I tell ya.

Paul Emery

Thanks Mike for the deep insight you bring to this conversation. The way you are able to summarize complex questions and conclude that people who disagree with you are idiots is brilliant in its simplicity and clarity. It certainly eliminates thinking on your part in any discussion. Very efficient and clear. You Liberal-You Idiot This kind of deep thinking doesn't even need a complete sentence. Perhaps you can simplify it even more and respond with just a grunt.

RL Crabb

You Brainiacs might want to think about why there is a progressive movement in our superior capitalist paradise. Could it be that people got tired of being forced to work in sweatshops with no ventilation, locked doors and sub tandard wages? Or maybe that rich corporations just covered up the sludge and pollution and built a subdivision over it? And then after they got filthy rich by taking advantage of the peons, they built you a library so you'd think they were wonderful guys.

The progressives were and have been successful because there was a need for them. The problem is they got greedy, just like the conservatives before them.

Greg Goodknight

RL, where are the sweatshops in state and local governments? Were there California State sweatshops when collective bargaining over wages and benefits was instituted by Jerry Brown his first time as governor?

This isn't about workplace safety, it's about public employee unions being a force in the selection of the politicians who will be the ones representing taxpayers during wage and benefit negotiations. 'Progressives', whose campaigns have been the recipients of Union largess (cash and volunteer workers), have been the big winners.

Paul E, given that I have never been a Republican, I really have little need for "Republicans to advance". Face it, the state of affairs is almost entirely the doing of Democrats and RINO governors and without Republicans anywhere to be seen, it will be a neat trick to blame a collapse on Republicans. Personally, rather than a big return to power by the R's, I'd prefer the 'progressives' in the Dems to be forced out and into a fringe party (perhaps the Greens) by an overall move to the party's historic center.

John Galt

Paul Emery, thanks for your contribution. I too support a straight across the board cut--at least for the first 10%. Every program is perceived as precious by it's supporters. A straight cut has the merits you stated above plus it's fast and efficient. We can tinker and re-balance afterwards.

See...sometimes we can have a productive and civil exchange.

Mikey McD

"You Brainiacs might want to think about why there is a progressive movement in our superior capitalist paradise." Crabb, the progressive movement was/is NOT the result of an unfulfilled "need" which capitalism failed to achieve... it is the result of an elitist driven, lazy, unproductive mob acting on the opportunity to live off the work, sweat, blood, risk of individuals.

You are spewing socialist propaganda if you believe that employees are forced to work (behind locked doors? without air? under market wages)...or if you think large corporations can exist without providing a product/service demanded by you and I... if you think socialists (see China) are better protectors of the environment... if you teach that expensive subdivisions and libraries are built for evil reasons...

George Rebane

A need for progressives??!! Progressives and their ilk are usually to be found on the way-station to totalitarianism. The workers' paradise sweat shops of the USSR, China, Cuba, Vietnam, Cambodia, Albania, ... have been models that make the capitalist 'robber baron' factories look like country clubs in comparison - just talk to the workers who were lucky enough to shed some sweat in both kinds. One must always recall why these countries are always surrounded by barbed wire, mine fields, and watch towers.

Mikey McD

To blame California's mess on republicans is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. OK; maybe second to "I think my goldfish needs a bicycle"

BTW, it was Pete Wilson who fixed the pension crisis years ago (going to 2 tier pension system), only to have his solution canceled out by the recalled Davis.

John Galt

The Democrat party has become home to too many socialist, communists, and marxists who charade as democrats to gain legitimacy (IMHO). I don't consider them democrats. I consider them Sociacrats, Commicrats, and Marxicrats. So I share some of Goodknights sentiments--I wish the Democrats would escort their far left to the Green Party and return to representing the hard working citizens of the United States of America.

Paul Emery


Gee, I was in Denmark for 8 months and I saw no barbed wire, mine fields of barbed wire. I guess I missed it.

RL Crabb

Of course there were no sweatshops or child labor when the progressives began their move to reform working conditions in the early 20th century. Sure it wasn't a reaction to the Big Four monopoly that led to the election of Hiram Johnson in California. The commi-socio-lib-o-gressives just made all that stuff up. You guys never cease to amaze me on your re-writing of history.

Todd Juvinall

Hiram Johnson and the "progressives" ran and were elected because he SP Railroad was calling the shots. The people got fed up and changed the state to a more open, less top heavy state. Over time that hegemony by the "progressives" grew and grew so now one may not be able to tell the difference between SP and them. When the free market prevails, California prospers, when it doesn't we have what we have today. My question for Paul and RL is simple. Who has the best solution to the woes of the State and Federal systems? If you love the way things are going I can guess you just think the left is doing fine. If not, then what are your solutions? Many of us tried to fix things but were tossed aside and called extremists. Now the left and their media buds are calling Mitch McConnell an extremist. Amazing.

George Rebane

Paul, I recall an extensive conversation between us about the fortunate yet still unsustainable existence that Denmark has led since WW2. Like Norway, the country mines a major part of its GDP, spends pennies for defense (which I hope will come to an end soon), and still can't keep the cost of its social programs from consuming ever more of its GDP. That's not sustainable, and we've sung that song, part of it here http://rebaneruminations.typepad.com/rebanes_ruminations/2010/08/social-scaling.html

Stein's Law (if something can't go on forever, it will stop) is in full operation. But it seems that you, like your brethren in Congress, feel that anything that's heading for a brick wall and hasn't hit it yet is not worth worrying about - quite the opposite, it's worth emulating.

RL Crabb

Yes, Todd. You are saying what I just said. The progressives started winning elections because of the excesses of big bizniz. Then they became as bad as the people they replaced. Go back and read the post.

I agree with the conservative complaints about the nanny state. I'm just not willing to go back to what existed before the progressives came into being. It's called balance.

Mikey McD

Crabb, you act as if capitalists ran around US cities kidnapping people to work in their factories when in fact each of the 'sweatshop' employees CHOSE to work. Conveniently forgetting that the chosen 'sweatshop' jobs you highlight were not only the exception, but, were still jobs superior in pay and treatment to the alternatives offered elsewhere in the world at that time. In your haste to demonize the employer don't forget to give weight to the decisions of the employee and the purchaser of the end product/service.

Todd Juvinall

RL, it was the SP Railroad yet you condemn capitalism in toto. That is a big difference in our points. You still have not answered my question about your solutions.

Mikey McD

Do you drink wine?
Harvesting grapes (not to mention just about any other hands on crop); it is a grueling, backbreaking, laborious job. However, tens of thousands of people risk their life to escape Mexico to work the vineyards in CA (contemporary example of 'sweatshop'). Is their 'injustice' in the relationship: the vineyard, employee and/or wine drinker?

Paul Emery


What the future may hold for Progressive governments such as Denmark is worthy speculation but at this time you must admit that country is a long ways off from your vision that

"One must always recall why these countries are always surrounded by barbed wire, mine fields, and watch towers."

That's a pretty dramatic stretch.

RL Crabb

Hey Mikey, as I'm typing these responses in between dump runs (winter was brutal to my yard) I apologize for not being able to solve all of society's problems in a few sentences. I'll go with a few basics...

I grew up in a union household. Union benefits paid for my medical bills, clothes, food, etc., so I'm not as keen as you to get rid of them altogether. I was also a union steward back in my younger days, so I got to see the excesses too. Yeah, reform them, cut out the golden parachutes and retirement at almost full wages at 50. Same with the public sector.

Pare down the tangle of regulatory madness that's killing California, but leave in place protections for the environment, worker safety and the reasonable ability to redress grievances. Let communities decide how best to handle growth issues. Improve water storage, which I believe can be done without mega-dams.

The problem, as I see it, is that both sides want it all. Those midwest governors want it all, and now you have another fight on your hands. Maybe they'll win and the recall efforts will fail, or maybe you'll end up back where you started without any of the reforms you wanted. The electorate is fickle, and tearing down one side to benefit the other doesn't seem to be workable, given that there are fairly even numbers on both sides of the aisle. This back and forth battle can't be won, and wastes time and resources while the wounds are festering.

That'll have to do for now...

Paul Emery


I'll get back to this. I have to work right now. It's such an inconveniance

Mikey McD

I couldn't help myself: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o8MVFoiw-dw&feature=player_embedded#at=128

Mikey McD

Mr. Crabb, I was raised in a union house too. My mom (I'm biased) is literally the best teacher in the county and she is paid the same as the clock punching, tenured, paper weight of a teacher...(not to mention a pittance compared to the waste of space administrators). If there were justice in the world she would have been financially rewarded for her excellence (though admittedly she does not teach for the $).

George Rebane

Paul, the transit from 'nice' socialism to crass autocracy to ... can and has come quite quickly when you run out of other people's money, and refuse to loosen the reins. The road back from central control, no matter at what stage, is a hard one.

And I do understand that as long as we haven't hit the wall, my reasoning is not going to convince anyone of the progressive mindset. After we hit the wall, the government's goon squads will be out almost instantly, enforcing the new world order of limited wants to go with the limited goods.

Paul Emery


We are all entitled to our speculations about the future and, though I don't agree, I grant you yours.

George Rebane

Accepted Paul, that's what makes me fearful and you sanguine.

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