• Why? Democrats don’t get to use the filibuster anyway. Bush got his entire agenda through, and his judges.

  • richie73 commented on the diary post It’s Official: The HPV Vaccine Will Not Turn Girls Into “Sluts” by RH Reality Check.

    2012-10-20 22:28:12View | Delete

    You can paste anonymously authored “fact sheets” ghostwritten by the pharma lobby all day, but just because something is published on a government website doesn’t make it science. The unfortunate fact is that public health authorities are increasingly just extensions of the profit interest of the pharmaceutical industry.

  • richie73 commented on the diary post It’s Official: The HPV Vaccine Will Not Turn Girls Into “Sluts” by RH Reality Check.

    2012-10-18 22:34:57View | Delete

    New research has shown that evidence for the safety and efficacy of the HPV vaccine is lacking. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23016780 ” We find that HPV vaccine clinical trials design, and data interpretation of both efficacy and safety outcomes, were largely inadequate. Additionally, we note evidence of selective reporting of results from clinical trials (i.e., exclusion of vaccine [...]

  • richie73 commented on the blog post Too Dumb To Vote

    2012-06-01 17:08:26View | Delete

  • It’s rather irritating that people still propose that false equivalence between the 9/11 truth movement and birtherism. Beyond alleging conspiracy, those two movements could not be more different.

    9/11 truth proceeds from an essentially rational initial suspicion: that it is a bit too convenient that the very people who wanted a “new pearl harbor” to move us into the fast lane on the road to full fascism got just that, and just months after they stole an election to get their puppet installed in the White House. That’s how fascist regimes always consolidate power- there’s always some faked attack that provides cover and excuse for removal of civil liberties at home, and war.

    That is not to say that there is incontrovertible evidence in the public domain that proofs that the 9/11 attacks were faked by forces within our own government. I have no such evidence. But the initial suspicion that they could have been is essentially a rational one.

    Birtherism, on the other hand, is the hate child of racism, tribalism and right wing sore-loserism. Whereas “9/11 truth” starts with an emminently plausible motive – they faked the attacks to consolidate power – birtherism can offer no such motive. Special interests have a pool of millions of naturally born Americans to pick a puppet from who’ll do anything for money- they don’t need to recruit Kenyans.

  • richie73 commented on the blog post There Always Seems to Be an Unnecessary Corporate Middleman

    2011-08-11 20:18:21View | Delete

    It’s very simple. We just can’t have efficient and cost-effective solutions for anything because that would be socialism. In America, we prefer market-based solutions, which is a codeword for having corporate middlemen who do nothing except divert funds into their own pockets.

  • richie73 commented on the blog post The Soft Revolution

    2011-07-12 15:58:49View | Delete

    To allege that conventional medicine is evidence-based is giving it far more credit than it deserves.

    Drug approval studies are frequently ghost-written. The conclusions are written by the marketing department before any research has happened and then whorish researchers fix the data around the conclusions and put their name on these fraudulent studies.

    http://blogs.plos.org/speakingofmedicine/2009/08/21/ghostwriting-documents-now-fully-available-on-plos-medicine-website/

    There is also the problem of rampant off-label prescribing, which once again defies any evidence-based standard of scientific medicine.

    Considering these problems, one should hope that this pharmaceutical shortage will continue, and doctors would more widely turn to treating their patients with placebos. I think the result would be a remarkable improvement in outcomes.

  • Yes Mr. Paul, by all means, let’s look it up in the dictionary. How about Merriam-Webster?

    Definition of MARRIAGE
    1
    a (1) : the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law (2) : the state of being united to a person of the same sex in a relationship like that of a traditional marriage

  • richie73 commented on the blog post Universal Preschool: An Actually Smart Longterm Deficit Plan

    2011-06-10 13:45:18View | Delete

    Let’s look at this from the perspective of our permanent ruling class.

    higher educational attainment = more resistant to propaganda, more likely to vote. Both outcomes are highly undesirable.

    higher income and socioeconomic status = more spare time for people to educate themselves and involve themselves in politics. Doubleplusungood.

    lower rates of justice-system involvement and substance abuse = less profits for the private prison industry and fewer people permanently deprived of voting rights. Again, undesirable outcomes.

  • richie73 commented on the blog post Boehner’s Maximalist Debt Limit Demands

    2011-05-10 12:28:44View | Delete

    The point is that war spending is made to look much smaller than it is through three major devices:

    1. Adding the value of the trust funds into the federal budget, even though it’s not government spending money.
    2. Hiding military spending in other departments.
    3. Not counting interest on debt incurred by past military adventures as military spending.

    When all of this is honestly accounted for, the military is almost 50% of the real federal budget (not the phony “unified” federal budget).

  • The phrase “one man, one vote” expresses the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the constitution that “as nearly as practicable one man’s vote in a congressional election is to be worth as much as another’s.”

    I believe that approval voting abides by that principle. It affords each voter the exact same voting power, by letting them approve or disapprove of each candidate. It’s one person, one vote- for each candidate.

  • Just one comment on instant runoff voting. While it may superficially sound like a vast improvement over plurality voting, there is a major implementation issue that makes it impractical.

    IRV results are not “summable”. This is a bit hard to explain, so I refer you to

    http://minguo.info/election_methods/evaluation/sc_summability_criterion

    for an explanation.

    IRV also fails other mathematical criteria of a good election system.

    Fortunately, a much better alternative is available, which is approval voting.

    In approval voting, every voter marks all the candidates they approve of, and the candidate with the largest number of approvals wins.

    http://minguo.info/election_methods/approval_voting/why_it_should_be_approved_now

  • Democrats have only themselves to blame. We’ve known for over 10 years now that Republicans are prepared to do ANYTHING to steal elections. But the Democratic establishment has done nothing to counteract or challenge Republican election stealing and manipulation.

    Gore meekly acquiesced to the stolen election of 2000. His lack of spine and failure to challenge a coup d’etat bought us 8 years of Bush and the apparent permanent loss of civil liberties. In any other country, a stolen election would have meant civil war. Not here. The democrats even assisted in the stealing of future elections by going along with black box voting.

    In the last decade, massive evidence of vote rigging and flipping has accumulated. Smaller blogs like Bradblog have made a heroic effort to cover this issue, but the Democratic establishment and the mass media have almost universally ignored it.

    There is evidence that the Georgia Senate race 2002 was stolen. The presidential election 2004 was almost certainly stolen in Ohio. I suspect that 2008 was stolen as well, not as far as the presidential race is concerned, but through the Senate races, to deny Democrats a 60+ supermajority. I can’t prove these assertions, but the point is that no one can disprove them either. Many of the ballots in question never existed as physical entities. They were just numbers in computers. Recounts consisted of simply adding those numbers again, as if that proved that the primary data wasn’t manipulated to begin with.

    Raise these issues, and you will be accused of being a “conspiracy theorist” by all the Very Serious People.

  • richie73 commented on the diary post Proposal for a Democracy Amendment to the US Constitution by richie73.

    2011-05-05 09:30:47View | Delete

    Your point about private money is well taken. I only meant to allow a small exception for “grassroots” money. If the limit is hardcoded into the constitution and tied to the minimum wage, it would be just as hard to change as doing away with it altogether, since that would require a new amendment. But [...]

  • richie73 wrote a new diary post: Proposal for a Democracy Amendment to the US Constitution

    2011-05-04 20:08:27View | Delete

    I think it is self-evident that the bottomless corruption of the US political system is not accidental, but rather the predictable result of fundamental flaws in the electoral system. Flaws that seem designed to produce the worst leaders possible. In my opinion, progressives by and large have been incredibly naive with respect to this problem. [...]

  • richie73 commented on the blog post All Americans Agree: Our Politicians Suck

    2011-05-04 19:09:13View | Delete

    Some comments on proportional representation. It’s a highly desirable system in principle to be sure, but a great deal can go wrong in the implementation.

    Countries that use the system frequently have a 5% barrier (parties need at least 5% of the vote to receive seats) which was originally meant to prevent party fragmentation and inability of the system to produce majorities that can govern.

    But this has produced its own version of the spoiler effect. While under such as system there usually are 4 or 5 parties (in Germany for example), new parties usually face near impossible barriers in establishing themselves, because voters (correctly) feel that their vote for such a party is wasted. Giving voters a 1st and 2nd choice for the party of their preference (and the 2nd choice is counted if the 1st choice doesn’t make it in) is a way to fix that problem.

    An even greater problem lies in the easily overlooked technicality of who determines which candidates are on the party lists. Political commentators in Germany have for a long time criticized what they call a “dictatorship of parties”. People get to cast a proportional vote for party lists, but it is (corrupt) party leaders who decide who’s on those lists.

    To make my point, if the Senate was proportionally elected (which is a very good idea), it should be combined with an instant primary wherein after you vote for a party, you get to approve/disapprove all candidates wishing to take seats for that party. Seats would then be given to candidates in order of approval. Letting voters only approve/disapprove of candidates of the party they voted for would have the beneficial side effect of eliminating “sabotage” votes that we have in states with open primaries where hostile voters support the worst candidates of an opposing party.

  • richie73 commented on the blog post All Americans Agree: Our Politicians Suck

    2011-05-04 18:55:13View | Delete

    Election rules, like proportional representation or “instant runoff” voting, that would allow people to vote for a greater variety of viable political parties and reduce negative campaigns;

    Instant runoff sounds like a great system, but it has its own flaws. The biggest is that the actual vote counting procedure is so complicated, it would in practice almost always be done by machines and that invites more electronic voting machine manipulation and election stealing. We really don’t want an electoral system where we have to take “their” word for it.

    There is another problem with instant runoff, which is that in a 3-way race, the one compromise candidate that is acceptable (though not the first choice) of a very large supermajority of voters could be eliminated in the first round.

    Fortunately, there is an alternative to IRV that avoids all these difficulties: approval voting. In approval voting, voters simply mark all candidates that they like “approve” and the rest “disapprove”. Candidate with the highest approval wins. Approval voting elections can be hand-counted unlike instant runoff ones, and there is no problem of premature and anomalous rejection of candidates.

  • While this is a step forward, it will not solve the real problem, i.e. the two-party duopoly which is locked in by the plurality voting system and the accompanying spoiler effect.

    Single-winner elections such as the presidential election should be decided by approval voting, wherein every voter marks all candidates “approve” or “disapprove”. The candidate with the highest approval wins. This not only enables voters to express their support for third party candidates without automatically voting for their least favorite candidate, it also eliminates the needs for primaries.

    Of course approval voting or not, the Senate is an abomination in its current form and should be replaced by an assembly that is elected in a national proportional vote for a party, with an instant approval vote for candidates of that party (you cast your vote for a party and then mark all candidates for that party approve or disapprove, and seats are filled in descending order of approval.)

  • richie73 commented on the blog post Majority Think Wealth Should Be More Evenly Distributed

    2011-04-16 22:54:26View | Delete

    I think we need to make a better effort of communicating the concept of effective tax burden. Joe makes $2000 per month pre-tax and has basic, non-negotiable living expenses (rent, food, car, etc) of $1500. Remaining income Joe would have left to spend, save and invest were it not for taxes: $500. If all taxes combined amount to 20% of Joe’s pre-tax income, then Joe will lose $400 of that and have only $100 left. Joe’s effective tax burden relative to his disposable income: 80%. How’s that for “confiscation”.

    Janet makes $20,000 per month pre-tax and has higher living expenses than Joe. $5000 per month covers what she considers basic standard of living. Remaining income she has if it were not for taxes: $15,000. If she’s also taxed at a total rate of 20%, she’ll lose $4000, and still has $11,000 left to spend. Janet’s effective tax burden relative to her disposable income: 26.6%.

    What if Janet is taxed at a total rate of 50%? She’ll lose $10,000 of her after-living expenses $15,000 then, but still have $5,000 left. Her effective tax burden is then 2/3 or 66.7%, but still far short of Joe’s 80%.

    Bottom line is, 20% tax rate for a poor person may well represent a greater level of pain than 50% for a moderately rich person, never mind the situation of the truly rich. If we can communicate this idea that “heavy” ain’t “heavy” for the rich, then we’ll win this debate.

  • richie73 commented on the blog post Majority Think Wealth Should Be More Evenly Distributed

    2011-04-16 22:49:59View | Delete

    I think we need to make a better effort of communicating the concept of effective tax burden.

    Joe makes $2000 per month pre-tax and has basic, non-negotiable living expenses (rent, food, car, etc) of $1500. Remaining income Joe would have left to spend, save and invest were it not for taxes: $500. If all taxes combined amount to 20% of Joe’s pre-tax income, then Joe will lose $400 of that and have only $100 left. Joe’s effective tax burden relative to his disposable income: 80%.

    Janet makes $20,000 per month pre-tax and has higher living expenses than Joe. $5000 per month covers what she considers basic standard of living. Remaining income she has if it were not for taxes: $15,000. If she’s also taxed at a total rate of 20%, she’ll lose $4000, and still has $11,000 left to spend. Janet’s effective tax burden relative to her disposable income: 26.6%.

    What if Janet is taxed at a total rate of 50%? She’ll lose $10,000 of her after-living expenses $15,000 then, but still have $5,000 left. Her effective tax burden is then 2/3 or 66.7%, but still far short of Joe’s 80%.

    Bottom line is, 20% tax rate for a poor person may well represent a greater level of pain than 50% for a moderately rich person, never mind the situation of the truly rich. If we can communicate this idea that “heavy” ain’t “heavy” for the rich, then we’ll win this debate.

  • Load More