Analysis of an argument: Some missteps to avoid

January 27, 2013

This video has been swirling around the libertarian wing of my facebook feed, specifically the Judge Andrew Napolitano page. Progressive journalist Thom Hartmann and Austin Peterson, Director of Production at FreedomWorks and editor of the Libertarian Republic have a heated discussion over the alleged right to health care on Thom’s TV program, The Big Picture. Here’s what all went down:

Of course Thom mangled the libertarian point of view. Of course I agree with Austin, but his performance disappointed me. Here are three missteps to avoid in discussion.  Read the rest of this entry »


Dangerous Thoughtlessness: Why I’m Not So Excited About ACA’s Health Care Refund Checks

July 17, 2012

“This is how the world works. All energy flows according to the whims of the Great Magnet. What a fool I was to defy him.” ~Raoul Duke

Paul Abrams is excited about free money showing up in his mailbox. He told us all about it in this Huffington Post editorial:

I Pledge My Health Insurance Refund to President Obama’s Re-Election. Will You Join Me?

Some of his reasoning seems arbitrary to me. For example:

You see, under our new healthcare insurance system, the insurers have to spend at least 80 percent of the premiums they collect from us on actual healthcare. Before, they would just pocket it, and provide for executive bonuses, yachts, private jets, memberships to country clubs — all of which are wonderful, it is fine for them and others to enjoy them, but not with my healthcare dollars, thank you very much.

Why is it fine for them and others to enjoy these luxuries, but not with his healthcare dollars? What about his health care dollars so different in substance for his standard issue Federal Reserve notes that the government must dictate special rules as to how they may be allocated within businesses?  Read the rest of this entry »


Backlog O’Links for August 30, 2010: Old stuff that’s not even newsworthy anymore.

July 25, 2010
  1. World Socialist Party (US) | Making Bread

    Daryl Larson, who farms 1,500 acres in Kansas sold nearly half of his wheat crop but will keep the rest in the silo in the expectation that the prices will at least climb further. Most analysts would concur with Mr Larson’s strategy of holding on to some grain for added profit. The [Socialist Party of Great Britain] only asks: why do some in this world face destitution and hunger, while others hoard food to obtain higher profits?

    Farm subsidies complicate the issue, but the simple answer is: Daryl Larson, the producer of the food, has the perfect right to do anything he pleases with it. He was under no obligation to make the food. Similarly, he is under no obligation to distribute the food. If Mr. Larson were forced to sell his grain at prices he did find agreeable, he probably not stay in the wheat business for very long.

    If we added farm subsidies into the mix, then, depending on why the subsidies were paid in the first place, there could be a basis upon which to demand that Mr. Larson make some concessions to taxpayers….

  2. AFL-CIO NOW BLOG | Public to Lawmakers: Tax the Rich1) Aren’t you glad that the public has no authority to confiscate and redistribute your private property?? 2)Never trust anyone who classifies tax cuts as ‘spending’. 3) This article quotes labor secretary Robert Reich who believes that the ‘fundamental cause’ of the financial crisis is wealth disparity. If not for wealth disparity, the argument goes, Americans would not have needed to borrow so much. I’ve never heard this one before…  Read the rest of this entry »

Links for April 12, 2010: Marijuana Policy in Philadelphia, A Critique of Austrian Economics, others…

April 11, 2010
  1. myfoxphilly.com | D.A. Explains New Pot Policing Proposals Vodpod videos no longer available.

    Seth Williams explains sensible proposal for marijuana arrest procedure, wards off scaremongering. For the latest, check Seth Williams’s recent “Radio Times” interview.

  2. DEA | Speaking Out Against Drug Legalization

    Call from the DEA.

  3. Opposing Views | The DEA’s Top 10 “Facts” on Marijuana Legalization

    Response from NORML. Read the rest of this entry »


Links for March 6, 2010: NORML Ad Runs on Times Square, Philly Ponders Soda Tax, Interesting Claims About the Fed, others….

March 18, 2010
  1. Change.org | CBS Reverses Decision, Agrees to Run Pro-Marijuana Ad

    Kudos to CBS for overcoming stereotype and helping to convey this sensible, important message.

  2. Weavers Way | Philly Proposes a Big Soda Tax

    I dislike behavior control through selective taxation more than I dislike soda.

  3. Ron Paul's MySpace Blog | Bernanke calls Ron Paul remarks "bizarre" – Ron Paul responds.

    Ah, MySpace blogs. America's finest news source. Hey, look. I wasn't there. I don't know what happened. I'm just the messenger. Read the rest of this entry »


links for 2010-02-16

February 17, 2010
  1. World Socialist Party (US) | Labor Theory of Value

    Looking for a simple, concise explanation of the theory, I find instead this litany of apologetics. Written almost entirely on the defensive, the article explains nothing about the Labor Theory of Value except why Marx scoffed at requests to explain it: — “if one wanted to ‘explain’ from the outset all phenomena that apparently contradict the law, one would have to provide the science before the science” (Collected Works vol. 43, p. 68). I don’t know if that explanation satisfies you, but I find it wanting. I think, ultimately, Marx uses the word “VALUE” as a term of art that means simply that part of an item’s existence attributable to the labor required to produce it. So, if I spent 50 man-hours making 50,000 turd sandwiches, Marx would “VALUE” those turd sandwiches at the going rate for 50 man-hours of labor. Sure, the labor theory of value makes sense in THAT context, but what about real life, in which we don’t always have the luxury of defining words as we please?

    Update: It has come to my attention after listening to a lecture on the opening chapter of Marx’s Capital that Marx believed that useless items had no value. He actually employed three terms of art, and what he saw as the relationships between them, to describe what a layman would call “value”. The terms are: use value, exchange value, and value. An explanation of this in the linked article would have been helpful.

  2. reason.tv | Don’t Get Hurt

    Fear of addiction and other harms resulting from prescription pain-killers is overblown, argues Ted Balaker at Reason. Read the rest of this entry »


links for 2010-02-12

February 13, 2010
  1. La Vida Locavore | Soda Consumption vs. Diabetes

    More on the Soda/Diabetes link. Any "extraneous variables" in there?

  2. Reason Magazine | Obama's Pardon Drought Continues

    It is what it says.