Gold Fish Comments

For those who might not know, a Goldfish is a kind of carp, but a modestly pretty one if it’s not too big… They are edible, but just barely, and usually look much nicer than their actual substance. They are easy to grow, and will rapidly overpopulate a pond if left to it, and survive even in quite cold waters. However, if not subjected to continuing selective pressure, they will eventually “revert to type” and change back into a muddy looking rather drab plain old carp, just like the others.

So, here are 2 comments from Peter Offenhartz. Peter is a reasonable person, IMHO. He has some ‘limitations’ on detail he can grasp in one go, and likes to tend to the drab grey / mud color insult if not pruned now and then, but sometimes has decent points and does have some interesting questions (though they often overpopulate what can be answered, and I’m not that interested in being “personal savant” to nitpickers). So, here we go…

First up, from the ‘way back golden mouldys’ …

About thanksgiving of last year, we were having some bickering on a thread about the Tyranny of Small Decisions… then this:

Peter Offenhartz
Submitted on 2010/11/26 at 6:39 pm

Let me grant, solely for the sake of argument, the truth of your three small tyrannies. Here is my question: The arctic has been warming far more rapidly than the rest of the earth’s surface, and this has been going on for more than 30 years (as far as I know). Simple greenhouse gas theory (“the drier the air, the more the rise in carbon dioxide matters”) accounts for this rise. What else might explain the increase?

Starts off quite reasonable. Then wanders off into an argument of the form “ASSUME the temperature reports for the arctic are valid” (which right there violates the premise of the article, which is that a series of small mistakes, stacked on top of each other, causes that temperature record to be broken) “it can be explained by a hypothetical. SO you have to prove the negative that it isn’t”.

Yes, I’ve taken a bit of liberty with the “free translation” in that he doesn’t actually demand I do the proof, just come up with the alternative for him to shoot at. This, of course, ignores that the “null hypothesis” is “nothing is happening”.

OK, either I end up in a dog fight over this and get trapped into explaining where he’s “gone off the rails” (which is a waste of my time and / or makes him look stoopid) or I dodge it (which makes me look like a weasel) or I just let it go through to hang around for other folks to fight over (and enough of those, you start attracting more… and while the hit count goes ‘way high’ the place starts to turn into a food fight atmosphere where I can’t just ‘anoint’ folks so their comments just fly straight through, but need a full time moderator staff…)

So, do I put time into fighting this battle of the mis-understandings? This “prove the hypothetical is wrong”?

Or do I just junk it?

What I did instead was leave it in the “moderation queue” for the last 5 months nagging at me, as it ISN’T clearly just “delete” material… but way too much of a time sink…

it goes on:

As for averaging temperatures, it is of course a simple but rational thing to do as long as the media whose temperatures are measured have the same heat capacity.

Another {brief} flash of gold! I’ve in fact said this very thing about such actions as averaging a CONSTANT set of thermometers in one geography to look for bias artifacts… Then…

The media, in this case, is singular: air. Yes, one ought to include water content and thus measure enthalpic content, but I don’t think offhand the correction is large. Maybe I’ll work it out next week when I have more time.

And we have “Swing, and a miss!”… so I’m back at:

1) Sink time into a personal tutoring on the meaning of WATER as distinct from air, and it’s presence in the sky.
2) Sink time AGAIN into “the average of an intensive variable is meaningless” and a review of enthalpy of air and dew point.
3) Point to some page (that I’d have to dig up) on just how much 3 feet of snow fall takes OUT of the air and how much heat a hurricane picks up from the ocean, moves to the stratosphere and dumps, in hours…
4) Let it just lay there attracting more of the same and stirring the pot.
5) Keeping in mind that the comment has a (minor, but present) “stoopid” component to it and that 1-3 are going to point that out and I really don’t want to make folks look a bit silly in public.

Another vote for “look at it again later and maybe you can find a way to keep him looking ‘golden’ while telling him how silly it is to ignore water?”…

It seems possible than climate scientists have done every calculation incorrectly and yet still have got the trend right. Maybe just luck!

And he ends with the slightly cynical remark, sneering just a bit, that somehow they got the ‘trend’ right… when the article was clearly pointing out that the ’30 year trend’ is no trend at all but a cycle artifact.

So do I rehash all of THAT stuff, pointing out he needs to go re-read the article, for the 3rd or 4th time? And maybe try to “get it” this time? That the trend he’s hanging everything on is exactly what I’m pointing out is broken?


1) He’s a troll, spoiling for a fight over this or trying to waste my time or work in an entrapment.
2) He really doesn’t get it, and I’m going to be in the position of making him look bad (and making ME look mean) if I keep shoving it in his face.

As I’m:

a) Not interested in fights (“Life is too short to drink bad wine.”) nor in exploring entrapments nor in wasting my time nor in Trolls; and
b) REALLY don’t like ‘public embarrassment” of folks ( I have a very high ‘sympathy’ behaviour that I can’t stop. I have a great “people reader” and if they are feeling something, I’m feeling it too… I’m just not cruel and simply can not tolerate it).
c) Don’t really want to encourage a bunch more goldfish to the point where they turn into carp…

I let it sit, hoping for inspiration to strike… and maybe for Peter to figure out that it wasn’t all that great an idea to put that stuff in the queue to begin with…

And then, Inspiration Strikes (thus this posting) in another comment… (perhaps due to the “Carping Comments” thread serving as chum … if that does happen, well, I may end up tossing more stuff directly in the trash if it’s clearly just trash fish)…

But, on the off chance that Peter really IS being honest, really doesn’t mind the public display, really DOES want the answers, and is NOT just biting at chum due to some misplaced desire for being “up” like graffiti…

This starts nice enough, with a bit of a compliment (that may be gratuitous… see what follows) then slides into the backhanded slap… Making it “personal” again. Clearly having NOT read the many times I’ve said “It’s not about me but about data, facts, methods…”

Peter Offenhartz
Submitted on 2011/03/09 at 11:01 pm

I have subscribed to your blog for over a year, and I probably will continue to do so for a while. I am constantly astonished by the speed at which you read and digest material;

You have no idea… for everything you see, there is about 10x that gets done / read / absorbed ‘behind the scenes’… that’s what being a “high function Aspe” is all about. Super high volume data flow and real time assimilation. It’s doing that while not going insane or becoming anti-social that’s the hard bit and sorts the “high function” from the “problem Aspe”… and keeping control. As it is, there are times I don’t check email for a couple of days as I’m ‘focused’ on something and forget, and folks take that personally or think me rude for not seeing their email inside an hour…

I confess that (at age 70+) I cannot manage to digest more than a few percent of what you write (concision is not one of your virtues). And your readers often usefully add to your readings and observations. I am thinking, specifically, about your recent post on the “Mummies of Urumchi”

Well, Peter, some topics are not suited to “sound bites”. Get over it.

It’s a complex topic, covering at least 5000 years of history and 2 continents, including language, land migrations, sea migrations, culture, archaeology, genetics, and a half dozen other things (with citations). That I got it down to “a few pages” was ‘high density’ already.

FWIW, I’ve put a dozen page $40 Million expenditure justification into a one page “Summary” that I also condensed into a 1/2 page “above the fold” “bullet point list” on the “Executive Summary” and got funded. The paper wrinkles indicated that the “bosses boss” read the summary and HIS boss didn’t go below the fold… So, yes, being concise IS one of my virtues when I think it is appropriate. For the things that interest me, and about which I tend to make entries here (in what I think of as “my online public notebook”) they will run to the length I think is needed to cover the topic.

Oh, and the “topic” was a general “Where all is there evidence of Celts in the world, and any related interesting bits”, it was NOT limited to the mummies. They were but one note. See, bigger topic. Needs bigger coverage.

(you seem to have missed the book by Elizabeth Barber, but never mind: your observations, and those of your readers, complemented her book.)

Here a bit of the “style issue” starts to show. I “missed” the book. Not “Have you seen?” Not “This book is interesting.” but phrased as a failure on my part. No, I don’t mind. Lots of folks are sloppy with language and I’m used to that. BUT, it sets a ‘sensitivity flag’ to watch for more tendency to { condescension, insult, ‘fight attitude’, negative attitude, innuendo, etc.} so the BING counter is started and is now at ONE.

But thanks to the pointer for the book. Never heard of it. Not surprised there is one (ought to be dozens by now) and I might even look into it some day. I presume it’s this one:

but frankly, I’ve got all the information I needed for the purpose I wanted (to show redheads in western China) already and have a pretty good ‘dance card’ as it stands. So IF I ever look at it, it will probably be a couple of years from now. And no, I won’t ‘miss it’ a bit…

On the other hand, your views about global warming are laughable

BIG BING!!! Direct, unabashed, unadulterated personal insult. Probably ought to have earned an immediate FLUSH (and probably will in the future).

Let me restate it for the umteenth time: PERSONAL attack, the politics of personal destruction has NO place here. PERSONALTIES are not important to knowing nor to truth. Person directed insults and attacks are FLUSH FODDER. And not just at me. Folks start fighting among each other, I’ll start spanking (though I usually don’t jump on the first one).

No evidence given. NO statements of what DATA, FACTS, METHODS, etc are disputed. Just invective. That’s a ‘non starter’… It was at this moment that the prior “Goldfish comment” got ‘promoted’ to a carping comment leadin…

(what part of the effects of increasing CO2 do you not agree with?

Here we get, as a double tap to the insult, an attempt at a “it’s consensus so you must be an idiot to dispute it” rhetorical question. Why do I not think it’s a real one? As he immediately follows with a “never mind” brush off…

But, to actually answer the rhetorical:

Substantially ALL of the “effects” are a fantasy. Water completely swamps the IR ‘effects’ and convection neutralized what little might be left. See the half dozen postings I’ve put up to that effect, (Especially the “Ignore the day at your peril” posting. Put “peril” in the search box next to the ‘racing stocks’ tab up top…)

So, I can rehash a few dozen clear postings, or I can accept a ‘insult, trap rhetorical, and move on’? No, there is another choice… Thus my willingness here to violate my general “don’t talk dirt about folks in public” policy. Some folks, it would seem, need the sharp end of the prod to learn and remember things.

This is just basic physics!),

And it is WRONG basic physics that ignores too many things that have more impact. Like water (gee, where have I seen you ignoring water before?…) and convection.

and your post on Hitler and the Nazis was way beyond laughable. So I’ll focus on the latter.

Here is where we get the slap / dodge after the insult / rhetorical to “seal the deal”. Though I’ve gone and done the unwanted thing of actually addressing the stupidity of the prior “insult, imply, appeal to authority, and dodge”…

But clearly Peter would rather bicker about Nazis and toss insults over it, too. Except he’s wanting to do it in the Carping Comments posting… which is clearly NOT about that topic, but about the stupidity of some folks comments…

If the Nazi Party was to the left of center, as you say, who was to their right? Right and Left imply a center; where was the center? Where was the Right?

Ah, such blinding logic. Blindingly stupid, that is. It ignores the dozen+ times I’ve said that ‘left’ and ‘right’ are broken concepts. It ignores the detail in the postings about HOW EXACTLY they are broken. It fails utterly to look at any of the policies, public statements, and actions of the Nazi (that all clearly align with Socialism) nor the history of it (that comes out of a workers rights / union movement and that saw Soviet style Socialism as it’s competition). No, all of that swept away into a simplistic ‘right left’ argument that was already dealt with a couple of times in the original threads… He wants THAT to be his stellar lead into a ‘food fight’ on a thread not about that topic…

OK, just to be clear: LEFT and RIGHT are UTTERLY USELESS AND BROKEN TERMS. Yes, folks frequently use them, even me (though I try to keep them in quotes). They are broken as they constantly mutate through time into things that are exact opposites of prior meanings and because the try to compress a multidimensional thing into a one dimensional scale. Oh, and Stalin redefined them for propaganda reasons too. As it is now, you get Monarchs who hate republics counted with Republicans who love republics as “right” when during the French Revolution (when the terms were coined) republicans were “left”…

The reality has its own posting already, you ought to go read it. A “short form” that is incomplete and lacking the references (but that seems to be what Peter likes) is:

The Soviets defined RIGHT as anything “Not world Communist”. That shoved the Nazi (from their point of view and promoted by them in their propaganda world wide) ‘to the right’ (note: NOT IN the right, but toward…) but a tiny little bit in that Nazis and Fascists had 2 differences from Communism.

1) They did not care about GLOBAL socialism, only NATIONAL socialism Thus the “National Socialists” Party.
2) They were willing to use “Corporatism” to achieve Socialist aims, not just nationalize / communize.

Yes, there can be, and are, Socialist Corporations. See National Public Radio Corporation, for example.

Right wing can include both Kings, and republicans who want kings killed.
Left wing can include both communists and democrats who don’t want to abolish private capital.

There are dozens of other ‘oxymoron pairs’ you can make out of who has been in, and out, of each “wing” over time.

Those terms just have NO USE in deciding if something is socialist or not. Questions of collectivization of action, centralized authority, central control (and not necessarily ownership) of the means of production, and central planning vs private planning of private capital are the kinds of things that make that determination. They all say that Nazi’s and Fascists are Socialists of the Nationalist Corporatist form. No, I won’t debate that with someone who can’t even figure out that right vs left is ambiguous at best and woefully broken. Go learn something and look up the ‘indicia’ of socialism.

Beyond that, Left and Right have always implied a conflict between property rights and human rights,

No, they have not. That is an orthogonal axis. Both “the left” (as in the Stalinist definition – Communist Confiscation) and “the right” (as in the French Revolution definition – Kings) believed in ownership of all means of production by the crown / state. Both “the left” (as in the present USA definition – Democratic Party) and “the right” (as in the present USA definition – conservative Republicans) believe in the private ownership of the means of production (though Obama is trying to change that with things like the Nationalization of GM and the banks…)

See the problem? “left” and “right” are rubber rulers… both Dems and Repubs are for human rights. Both kings and Stalin were not. Left and Right are broken and are orthogonal to both property rights and human rights issues. Get Over It and learn that they are useless propaganda terms at this point. (And have been ever since Stalin started redefining them and took them away from the French Revolution meanings…)

a bit that (as far as I can tell from my limited reading of your excessively long blog) you left out.

Where, here, Peter admits he didn’t actually bother to read what I wrote ( or maybe can’t figure out the search box), but thinks I ought to have written more about what he thinks I might have left out, while tossing in another gratuitous insult… “just for fun” I presume.

Peter, we don’t do “insult for fun” here. That’s why your stuff tends to sit. That, and the lack of willingness to even bother to read what has been said, before complaining about it.

How could you?

Really easily. (Though I note in passing that after being insulted for putting to much in, I’m now being reprimanded for not putting more in…)

Mu! The question is ill formed! There is no such conflict defining left from right nor Nazi from Socialist.

This conflict is essential to understanding human behavior; it is essential to understanding politics.

Nope. It’s of use, but hardly essential. BTW, to actually have “human rights” you MUST have “property rights”. Yes, I’m of the “libertarian” bent on that. As in “Classical Liberal” and not “American Social Liberal”. (There was a posting on that, too. See the “I am a Liberal” posting where I found I was a ‘ClassyLiberal’ but not an “ASoLiberal”.

Next Peter heads into a typical Marxist influenced proletariat vs bourgeoisie argument, and wrapping it up in Stalinist “right vs left” labels. But first, my point is simple: If I don’t have the property rights to my home, I have no human rights to live in it. No car? No human right to free travel ( I have to beg travel from the state). No computer that is MINE, then no freedom to produce with it what I wish, even a newsletter against the state…

Those on the Right want to silence ideas,

A blanket bald assertion that is simply wrong. Ignoring for the time that “Right” is a broken label… Would you assert that Jefferson and Washington were interested in “silencing ideas”? They would be on the “right” today. How about Lincoln (an “evil” Republican who freed Blacks and abolished slavery) or the Libertarians who think you ought to be allowed to say just about anything at all? You know, those “ultra capitalists” who want you to be able to do anything you want with your money and say anything you want!

particularly ideas that have a mass following; those on the Left want to seize or silence (or in the more benign modern case, tax) property.

Again ignoring that “left” is a broken term…

SO “folks on the left” like, oh, Bill Gates, George Sorros, the Democrat Warren Buffet? Those folks on the left looking to get rid of “property rights”? Or maybe you meant Maurice Strong?

BTW, there is nothing “benign” about taxes. They are organized theft by force. It is only tolerated as the alternative is worse.

Also missing is the understanding that to “seize or silence” property IS to stifle freedom. Think that when the government “seizes the presses” you get the same diversity of newspapers? Compare Pravda to the USA market of that era.

So in addition to all the other problems here, we have the simple broken hypothesis that property and human rights are in competition when they are in fact essential to each other.

He goes on into the Marxists / Leninist inspired view of property as something the benevolent government needs to take away from those evil owners to “give you” freedom…

This is a deep and essential division; it underlies the politics of Wisconsin

Well, in a way, yes, but not as he sees it… (While I note in passing the attempt to bring a current affairs political hot potato into the discussion, perhaps to muck rake?)

As noted in other threads here, the States have a Demographic Bomb that is going to destroy their budgets. It is inevitable. There are simply not enough bodies to make the goods and services they have promised to give away as bribes / benefits. Wisconsin is saying “Enough already”, we need to cut back the size of the “public trough” or folks are going to “kill the host”. (It’s a bad parasite that kills it’s host, and the public employees want to keep feeding on the public body even as it is bled bloodless). The folks on the Gravy Train see no reason why they ought to stop the banquet just because other folks have no money left.

It is the confiscation of the private property of the citizens via a socialist wealth transfer that is the muffle on freedom, not the attempt by those being fleeced to hold onto enough to buy food and pay for their homes.

as it underlies the rise of the Nazi Party (and no, I am not making an analogy: Governor Walker is not a Nazi, as far as I can tell).

Ah, that old standby. Guilt by association with the weak disclaimer afterwards… Sorry, but that IS making an analogy…

But, in fact, the Nazi were advocates for “the People’s” this and the people’s that. They were for ‘better wages for the common man’ and all the rest of the Socialist clap trap. (Also note that both Stalin and Hitler used forced labor camps where people were made basically slaves of the state and their property confiscated. In a land with true property rights, you do not have your property confiscated…)

The reality is that Socialism is about removing property rights (and “socializing them”) for ‘the good of all’ and that inevitably brings with it the destruction of human rights. Every time.

And yes, I know that Communists have invoked the cloak of nationalism to pretend to be supporters of human rights, much as the Nazis pretended to be supporters of labor.

Ah, now they are all “cloaking” themselves…. wonder where I can get one of those magical invisibility cloaks… ;-)

But I think you have been seduced by Nazi propaganda:

BING! Another “stupidity insult”… Well, having been born about a decade AFTER the Nazi were history, I don’t remember seeing any of their propaganda. It was all in German anyway, and what was shown in parody in movies I couldn’t understand other than that cranky guy shouting shure looked funny. I DO remember many long lessons from my Father about how evil they were. How they had communal work gangs. How they hated individual liberties and thought the government ought to be in charge.

Socialism was NOT the main agenda of the Nazi Party;

Correct. I’d put it about #2 or 3 on the list. Hitler hated Jews (and several other ethnicities) first and foremost. He was ‘pro-Germany’ too. I’d make it “German Nationalism” as #1, racial hatred as #2, and Socialism as #3.

it was, pure and simple, a marketing tool, and any fair and thorough reading of history will show this to be true.

Um, no. It was a fundamental part of the collectivist enterprise that makes up the fascist ‘Third Way’. We see the same pattern of allowing some folks to become quite wealthy as private company owners IFF they “play ball” with the government (“corporatism”) as a means to the Socialist Agenda today in the various flavors of “Market Socialism” and even in the USA where Fanny and Freddy owned something like 3/4 of all the homes in America (they DID hold the mortgage after all) as a goal of the socialist polices of the “Progressive” “Left”. Vis the GM “takeunder” where the government stole the property rights of the bond holders (who were not thinking the right “social goal” things) and gave them to the Unions (who were). That is clear “market Socialism 101” under the heading “the avoidance of bankruptcy”.

And no amount of “reading” of history will change the things that define socialism and socialist acts. Key being “Central Planning” of the economy. Nazi Germany was very centrally planned… The economy was told what to do, and was directed in how to support the government in its war goals.

Then, the wrap up:

May I also say that your policy on “moderating” commentary is suspicious?

My “policy” is pretty simple. Folks who “play well with others” get a wide open microphone. I don’t even see what they say until the next day some times. Folks who “have issues” get put on a ‘hold first’ list. There are only 4 or 5 of them at present IIRC. Folks who indulge in too much trash and can’t learn go to the “SPAM QUEUE” first, ask questions later. I think it’s about 3 or 4 of them.

Once they go to moderation, most things get turned loose unchanged. About 80%? It’s a guess. Another 10%? get a snip or a growl or two. Very little of that after one or two times.

You quote your critics, but only in part: Criticism that fails your standards is obliterated.

First off, my #1 “issue” for moderation has nothing at ALL to do with “critics”. It has a lot to do with the “rules” in the “About” tab up top. Things like “don’t insult folks” and “be polite”. See the list of “gratuitous insult flags” in the post above or in the other Carping Comments postings for examples of what “sets off the snip”. Comments are generally let through 100% intact, or have very trivial “snips”. You could enter “snip” in the search box and count them if you like. Not many. Most folks learn fast. This also has an aspect of the general “tone” of comments. Mean folks don’t last long here.

My #2 issue is not liking to “hurt folks”. So when people have particular stupid statements or argument I don’t like to let that just ‘flow through’. They look “stoopid” and it starts food fights. I think I’ve flat out tossed maybe a dozen total in the last couple of years? Not exactly a lot.

My #3 issue is not letting folks start ‘food fights’ via rhetorical games, but that tends to be mixed in with #1.

My #4 issue is comments that look like they may be “set ups”. Folks posing. Trolls. Folks clearly using propaganda techniques to try to trap into a self defeating argument.

You know, things like someone trying to get me to defend the Nazis… I never will, as I despise all the various forms of government centralization of power and collectivization of work, rights, and property; i.e. Socialism. Though I will insist that things be properly sorted based on their actual behaviours and economic actions / attributes and not based on what Stalin called them nor on what folks today think is “good” vs “bad” nor on the propaganda goals of the present day Progressives / “Left Wing” / Democrats / whatever the neoSocialsts are calling themselves today.

What’s that count? Well, whatever has been posted already in “Carping Comments”. 4? 6? But then again, that text has already been posted substantially in full (modulo removing a link in one? of them). Plus what is still ‘in the queue’. What’s in the queue?

A total of 7. The two here. Yes, Peter, you make up 2/7 ths of all the “issue”… plus three that look like flat out SPAM that I’ve not dealt with yet. In one the poster is named David, but in Cyrillic, then the link takes you to a web site that’s pretty much just ads, and the text is just one of those “Love what you do” and nothing else bits of ego bait that makes up much SPAM these days. One claims to want to write an article for my wonderful blog, and one is ether a link-back or what LOOKS like a link-back but is a SPAM phish and I’ve just not taken time to sort it out. Not much of a priority…

Here is the full text, minus IP and email, of the “David” posting that I’m “obliterating”:

Submitted on 2011/03/08 at 11:07 pm

Perhaps, I will agree with your opinion

Somehow I don’t think this is being very “opressive” or “untruthful”…

Here’s the one on writing a posting (with link removed):

Rose A[xxxxxx]
Submitted on 2010/09/14 at 9:52 pm


As I see in your blog there is lots of good information available on real estate market.There is also a lots of information available about affect of inflation on the real estate market.Future growth prospect of the market and what are factor affect the trend.
I want to write one quality article for your blog.Its my surety that my article will not hamper the content trend which is present your blog.My article will help you to get extra quality content for your blog.This is also beneficial for your blog visitors.If you interetsed than contact me at [emailremoved]

Language indicates a non-native yet IP is local. At any rate, I’ve neither deleted nor responded yet. Still trying to figure what good it would do…

And the third:

Interesting post on taxes
Submitted on 2011/03/09 at 7:44 pm

[…] This entry was posted in taxes. Bookmark the permalink. ← good sed cheat sheet […]

Recent, and I’ve not bothered to find out if it’s the typical “post a link to get traffic to ad bucket” or someone with their own blog that actually liked the article. But it looks like the automated bot things that makes a link as an eyeball catcher link-back.

So, anyone feeling “deprived” by their absense?

That leaves exactly 2 (TWO) that are “critics” that I’ve “obliterated” by not dealing with them. One from Sept 2010 that has some Canadian Arctic stations in it and insinuates I’m not being truthful about how many are in GHCN. Missing the point that there are many in GHCN that END before now, and only a few active NOW. It’s in the “Hide their stupidity or waste my time teaching a pig to sing?” bucket. Yeah, I feel guilty about not just pitching it, but I really don’t like just deleting comments. I’ve not ‘bit bucketted’ many at all. Then again, after one or two into the bit bucket, usually after one or two with public snips, such folks leave me alone…

The other is from May 2010. Yes, almost a year ago. (Added to all the above and it’s what? Maybe 2 a month go into the whole “issues” group? Not much, really.) It is mostly a link to another site and is fishing for traffic, but in a way that looks like it might be trying to get folks over to another site where they can find “criticism”. As I don’t need to advertize for folks who don’t like me, I’m not real motivated to let it through either. There is no ‘criticism’ in it, just a “folks ought to look here for what we think”… and a link to a site run by folks who have insulted me before (though in a modestly restrained way, so not actually evil, or I’d have just chucked it already… yes, it’s stuck around this long due to the “moral dilemma”.

Surely you could find a mechanism for allowing critiques that fail your standards to be seen by all (with, of course, a suitable denial that these critiques past your smell test).

Well, I thought that was exactly what I was doing and Exactly what I’d said I was doing in the Carping Comments threads that you were responding to… but then again, you don’t seem to actually like to read the postings you are complaining about, so I guess that makes sense…

I do find it amusing that after complaints of “too much” we have another request for an increase in volume… and focused on those things I think are of least merit too!

How else are we to judge your honesty?

And I’m not sure how to class this one. innuendo that I must be hiding things, then a question of my honesty? Legitimate request for authentication method? Unwilling to do their own checking and wants to know to what authority they can appeal?

But, to the point:

1) That is entirely up to you. Honest. NO ONE but you can decide how to judge what is, in your mind, valid or not valid, honest or not honest. Otherwise you are delegating to someone else, and that just puts one more layer and you STILL have to judged THEIR honesty. There is no hope of getting out of your responsibility to judge for yourself.

2) Logical consistency helps. Cross checking facts and statements against references helps. Yes, this takes work. Even more work than actually reading the whole article in the first place. If you are unwilling to do this, it’s not my problem and I don’t need to indulge in Carpers and Food Fights for your benefit.

3) Dissent IS allowed here. It just has to be polite and speak to the argument, not to the person. I have no time for the rhetorical games of ad hom attacks and insults. Accept that or leave. Take a look at the R. de Haan exchange with me about how US troops ought / ought not be deployed, or the Roger and me “does so / does not” link exchange on the “synthetic fuels” thread for examples of “haggling the facts”.

4) Do you really think it improves veracity to be exposed to endless word games based on the politics of personal destruction, entrapment, insult and innuendo, and name calling? It doesn’t. Learn that.

I could go on, but I”m pretty sure Peter stopped reading about the 1/4 way point and just skipped down to the end here. So, with that in mind:

I really don’t like public “negativity” toward a fellow human being, that is needed to critique someone’s comments, as I do here. I firmly believe in “praise in public, criticise in private”. But blogs are not that way. I take no joy in the hurt it can cause to others. But there are times when the circumstances don’t yield to a better course. All I can do is hope that I’ve treated fairly and that Peter, and others, can learn from it.

It’s not up to me to make someone love me or think me honest or true. It is only up to me to be the best, most honest, and most true person I can be. After that, it’s not my problem…

Subscribe to feed

About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
This entry was posted in Carping Comments, Human Interest, Political Current Events and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

35 Responses to Gold Fish Comments

  1. Interesting Connections says:

    It is amusing that a great many popular truths are wrong.

    For example, Cleopatra was Greek of the Ptolemy family/dynasty.

    The Origins of the Second World War by AJP Taylor also corrects some myths …

  2. Jeff Alberts says:

    Goldfish breath air as well. You’ll often see them going to the surface to take a gulp.

  3. doyle says:

    You don’t need to allow any comments through at all. They add to the site. but aren’t the reason I come here. Just guessing, but I bet I am not alone. Of course, the overall experience would suffer, so your continued diligence in moderation is appreciated

  4. John F. Hultquist says:

    Many of the comments do add information. That’s helpful. I basically agree with ‘doyle’ @ 9:26 so enough said.

  5. Ralph B says:

    I would say that of the sites I like to read commentors here add the most content. A perfect example is the link to The Tribe of Dan. Most posts have comments which are helpful and stay on topic.

    By going through Peters comment (and the others in Carpin comments) E.M. has done a great service. Stick to the facts. Over on Climate Audit there is a poster named Susann who keeps trying to say Mann did not make Wahl delete any e-mail. While technically true, the fact is those e-mails would not have been deleted had Mann not fwd’d PJ’s message.

    I am not trying to change the subject, just trying to demonstrate how ignoring the facts steers the discussion away from it’s core. I believe if SM could do the same thing as E.M. his comment section would be more useful. SM does try to keep his hand on the tiller but not using the same methods as EM. Easy for me to say though…I am just in the peanut gallery and don’t have a blog. Can’t imagine the time and resources that go into it.

  6. Jason Calley says:

    How does one differentiate between people who are carping and those who are just being koi?


  7. E.M.Smith says:

    @Jason Calley:

    Oh! How COULD you!! ( do it again, please?) ;-)

  8. oMan says:

    E.M. –your blog is beyond good. It’s a shame that some commenters abuse the privilege. Your grace and generosity in dealing with them is a lesson to us all. Thanks.

    Maybe there’s a way you can recycle your explanations and proofs, give them numbers or something; so when a troll tries to drag you down a well-worn trail to nowhere good, you can just reply “Asked and Answered, See Essay 27…”

  9. Larry Geiger says:

    “May I also say that your policy on “moderating” commentary is suspicious?” Hee hee :-)

    I see nothing suspicious here. You own the place. You moderate however like! That’s a good thing.

    Thank you for letting me through ocassionally. I’m not sure that I contribute a whole lot but I am always informed and ocassionally entertained when I come here and I appreciate that.

  10. E.M.Smith says:


    I’ve thought of that… but it’s a lot of work. Classical quandry… sharpen the axe or chop down another tree…

    @Larry Geiger:

    “occasionally”? Maybe you didn’t notice you are on the straight through list? If you post a comment, it’s up. Now. Always. Or maybe you were just saying you don’t comment as often as you ought ;-)
    (hint hint ;-)

  11. PhilJourdan says:

    Let me state I do agree with you on the left and right. And think it can be best illustrated with this quote (which is not about left and right but how things blend together):

    I know what I am talking about when I am talking about the revolutions. The people who read the books go to the people who can’t read the books, the poor people, and say, “We have to have a change.” So, the poor people make the change, ah? And then, the people who read the books, they all sit around the big polished tables, and they talk and talk and talk and eat and eat and eat, eh? But what has happened to the poor people? They’re dead! That’s your revolution. Shhh… So, please, don’t tell me about revolutions! And what happens afterwards? The same f[.]ing thing starts all over again!

    – Juan Miranda, Duck You Sucker

  12. PhilJourdan says:

    Let me state I do agree with you on the left and right. And think it can be best illustrated with this quote (which is not about left and right but how things blend together):

    I know what I am talking about when I am talking about the revolutions. The people who read the books go to the people who can’t read the books, the poor people, and say, “We have to have a change.” So, the poor people make the change, ah? And then, the people who read the books, they all sit around the big polished tables, and they talk and talk and talk and eat and eat and eat, eh? But what has happened to the poor people? They’re dead! That’s your revolution. Shhh… So, please, don’t tell me about revolutions! And what happens afterwards? The same f****** thing starts all over again!

    – Juan Miranda, Duck You Sucker

  13. PhilJourdan says:

    I had to blank a word in the quote as the censor ate it the first time. ;)

  14. E.M.Smith says:

    Even folks on “straight through” hit the wordpress SPAM filter and a keyword list…

  15. xyzlatin says:

    EM your site is the only one I get updates from daily because of your large range of interests and your enthusiasm in going the whole hog in finding out everything about a topic.
    It is always fun to see you going off at a tangent and discovering a new interesting world. I delight in following it also.
    You are doing the hard work of the research, and everyone else gets the rewards.
    I don’t always get here in person but I am thinking of you.
    ps. A line of thinking that I find fascinating to dwell on, is wondering how many Asperger brains are involved on both sides of the AGW debate and the interaction of Aspie and NT style of communications on the “debate”. People keep wondering why someone else on the other side doesn’t “see it”, or why they behave in a strange way. Start putting AS into the mix, and things become much clearer.

  16. paulID says:

    E.M. I would read your site regardless of if there were comments or not the comments can make it even more interesting keep up doing what you do and always remember some people are kinda dumb others are willfully stupid. I think we all fit into the kinda dumb area once in a while.

  17. Pascvaks says:

    A blog is like a parlor, living room, kitchen, mancave, shecave, (bed/bathroom?), septic tank, or whatnot. If you like it you come back, if you don’t like it and see a way to mess with the owner you might come back too. But it is the owner’s blog. Life is like a beach, some small parts are private, and you just gotta like it or lump it.

  18. pascvaks says:

    FYI – Ref a little about Neanderthals;-)

    ‘”The real “junk” DNA'” by John Hawks

  19. Murray Duffin says:

    Hi Chiefio,
    Since you were kind enough to break your time management rule and read my stuff, I went back a flooged my way through this stuff. I really don’t like either the style or the content, but see no point in getting into all that, except to note that you do have a tendency to view opinions different from yours as “stoopid” and to assume that your opinions are facts.
    I find your views on politics bizarre, but consistent with a lot of right wing rhetoric today. I guess to make you happier I should say conservative rhetoric.
    I think most serious political philosophers view Naziism as far right, not left in any way. In my view the problem is one of direction around a circle more than ends of a straight line. The left moves toward communal socialism, where the state is there to benefit society, but individuals must be subject to the state, and in a sense wards of the state, for the more perfect good of all. The right moves toward socialism so the state can centrally control everything, and individuals are simply cogs in the wheels of production of goods and services, (and profits for the controllers). They both end up at similar forms of socialism from the point of view of the subject individual, and they both end up as totalitarian, because in the final analysis that is the only way to impose the will of the leaders on society in general, but they get there through very different motives and mechanisms.
    Both Fascism and Naziism use the route to the right, with Naziism being motivated first by the concept of nation, and Fascism being driven more by corporate control of government, so corporations can control the rules of operation. German Naziism was strongly supported by corporations, including American corporations. Italian fascism deluded itself that government controlled and directed corporations, but Mussolini saw it more as a partnership, and the corporations saw themselves as pulling the strings. If you think Fascism was left wing, just not as far left as Communism, just talk to some Italian thinkers. they see it as extreme right. (I lived in Italy for 6 years in a high level position with and Italo-French corporation, and had a lot of interface with such thinkers).
    The real issue in America that has been confounded by left and right wing labels, is one of Liberalism. There is no black and white here, just various, and variously intermingled shades of grey.
    What we in America today term “conservatives” are mostly “classic liberals”, with the left end of conservatives happy with some of the gains of past “progressive” gains, and the right wing trifurcated into Libertarians who tend to idealistic but unrealistc concepts in much of their thinking, Neocons who are cherish nationalistic/imperialistic notions, and corporatists who fail to see that the end of their route is Fascism, with all three perceiving government as mostly evil.
    To quote from Wikipedia “classical liberals made four assumptions about human nature: People were “egoistic, coldly calculating, essentially inert and atomistic”.[10] Being egoistic, people were motivated solely by pain and pleasure. Being calculating, they made decisions intended to maximize pleasure and minimize pain. If there were no opportunity to increase pleasure or reduce pain, they would become inert. Therefore, the only motivation for labor was either the possibility of great reward or fear of hunger. This belief led classical liberal politicians to pass the Poor Law Amendment Act 1834, which limited the provision of social assistance. On the other hand, classical liberals believed that men of higher rank were motivated by ambition. Seeing society as atomistic, they believed that society was no more than the sum of its individual members. These views departed from earlier views of society as a family and, therefore, greater than the sum of its members.[11] Classical liberals agreed with Thomas Hobbes that government had been created by individuals to protect themselves from one another. They thought that individuals should be free to pursue their self-interest without control or restraint by society. Classic liberalism emphasizes freedom “to” exploit, dominate, control etc., and is fundamentally Darwinist and classist in nature.

    What we in America today term “liberals” are “social or progressive liberals”, (not to be confused with liberal socialists but usually so confused by conservatives either because it suits their agenda or through ignorance of the complexities of all this). Both classic liberals and social liberals believe in liberty of the individual and freedom “of” speech, religion, press, assembly etc. However social liberals also believe in freedom “from” poverty, ill health, exploitation, and believe that government has a vital role in providing or at least facilitating such freedom.

    In their rhetoric, today’s conservatives constantly harp on the word freedom, without ever distinguishing among “of”, “from” and “to”, but mainly meaning “to”. What the founding fathers emphasized was liberty, which implicitly includes responsibility with freedom. Freedom without responsibility is not liberty, it is license.

    Your view that taxes are theft by force is typical of the classic liberal. They want the benefits to society that only government can provide, but don’t want the responsibility of paying for it. If all citizens recognized the true nature of reasonable taxation, and payed willingly, there would be no need for force, and there isn’t theft in any case.

    Your view that social liberalism somehow impinges on property rights is beyond me, and smacks more of paranoia than reason.

    As for GM, there are two main problems with your case. First when the settlement was being negotiated, GM had two debtor classes, bond-holders, and the employee benefits system. Management had gutted the employee benefits funds through borrowing, thus making these funds equivalent to bond holders. As part of the restructuring negotiations, both debtor groups were requested to give. Bondholders refused, unions agreed, and the bondholders found themselves out in the cold. Since the settlement, the government has already sold a substantial chunk of the ownership they reluctantly assumed, and will sell the rest as soon as feasible. Selling only a portion first was the only way to establish a fare market value going forward. To cling to the idea that this approach is some form of socialism, or in any way makes Obama a socialist, is simply irrational grasping at an ideological straw, but you aren’t the first conservative I have encountered with that affliction.
    The GM action was classical social liberalism, with government intervening to protect the Human individual “from” unemployment to the extent possible, and to protect the corporate individual “from” demise. Since the corporation had brought the demise on itself, it probably didn’t deserve the protection it was afforded, but that was an unavoidable consequence of and condition for protecting the worker from unemployment.
    Enough for now. I am also abusing my time management.:>). Murray

  20. Murray Duffin says:

    Oops! Typing too fast. Please excuse the numerous typos. Also forgot to note that the responsibility part of liberty includes the responsibility to help fellow members of society, (enable freedom “from”) and to pay for the societal benefits provided by government. Little things like having a highway to drive that “property rights” car on or a fire department to protect that “property rights” house from burning down, or R&D that provides the Internet we all love and use freely, or air traffic control to keep us flying mostly safely, and on, and on, and on.

  21. E.M.Smith says:


    I now know more about Papal Inspections and primates papules than I’d ever want to know…. but it’s good to know that at least some of us have a bit of ‘spine’ left…

  22. Tim Clark says:

    I agree that left and right are antiquated, obtuse labels.
    For example, Murray states:

    and the right wing trifurcated into Libertarians who tend to idealistic but unrealistc (sic) concepts in much of their thinking,

    then follows that with:

    However social liberals also believe in freedom “from” poverty, ill health, exploitation, and believe that government has a vital role in providing or at least facilitating such freedom.

    to which a libertarian replies, “Who has the unrealistic thinking?

    A libertarian looks at the Great Society of LBJ who stated ” We shall eliminate poverty in our lifetime”. Yeah, that’s a realistic concept. The government has done a good job with Social Security, Medicare, Welfare, QE1,2,3,4,5, etc. etc. Realistic thought should indicate to the intelligent that Government is the least efficient at solving problems. Idealists believe we should

    A Libertarian considers Unions to be contrary to free market “ideals” Why? Workers should compete in the marketplace, not in a boardroom. Unions were a good idea in the early 1900’s but we’ve come a long way since then. There are federal and state laws that prohibit most of the injustices of the past. Reality is, unions bosses have replaced corporate heads in terms of being corrupt. I’ve worked in a union job. Sure there’s good workers, but there’s also a lot of sloth at the bottom and fat at the top. The teachers union is a big reason the USA is turning out idiots.

    Liberty is having the right to private ownership, and the license to act freely with that property. Where the government gets involved is when that liberty “infringes on the rights of others”. That concept is translated by government as “is not what we want you to do”.

    Quite frankly, it’s asinine to believe, as those currently in power apparently do, that after 30 years of frugal hard work, I should share my wealth with those who are neither frugal or hard working. Once the right to retain capital is gone, who’s going to work?

  23. H.R says:

    @Murray Duffin

    You wrote at one point above:

    “Your view that taxes are theft by force is typical of the classic liberal. They want the benefits to society that only government can provide, but don’t want the responsibility of paying for it. If all citizens recognized the true nature of reasonable taxation, and payed willingly, there would be no need for force, and there isn’t theft in any case.”

    a) Taxes are voluntary then?

    b) In your opinion, what is the role of government? I agree that many want benefits and don’t want to pay for them. Others have paid for benefits and will never get them. Still others are receiving benefits and definitely haven’t paid anything for them.

    c) Is the current federal government adhering to the strictly enumerated powers granted by the Constitution?

    d) What is reasonable taxation? Who defines that? Is there room for disagreement on what is reasonable taxation? If I think my taxes are unreasonable, is there some problem wth me voting for a representative that will reduce taxes to what I think is reasonable? Doesn’t my opinion count? Doesn’t every voter’s opinion count? If I think the taxes I’m paying are being wasted, is there a problem with me voting for a representative who will cut wasteful spending?

    From the above, am I showing signs of Fascism, Socialism, Libertarianism, Corporatism, Classical Liberalism, or individualism?

  24. pascvaks says:

    @Murray Duffin

    The older you get the more you see and hear. Most of it you’ve heard in various versions before. We all eventually settle into a nitch, some call it a rut, some think of it as a nice little valley. If none of this makes sense now it will some day. Oh yes, language is fraught with pitfalls and dead-end paths that lead no where. Really!

  25. E.M.Smith says:

    @Murray Duffin:

    By the time I’ve reached a conclusion, I’ve typically got an order of magnetude more investigation behind it than the typical person. ( No, I can’t change that. It’s part of the High Function Aspe profile. That whole ‘reading phone books’ thing). So yes, by the time I’ve settled on something, it’s pretty likely it isn’t my “opinion” but a fairly well cemented piece of how the puzzle of the world goes together.

    This does not mean I’m alway right, nor that I think I’m always right. It does mean that that’s the way to bet.

    It’s like putting together a jigsaw puzzle. Sometime you get an island being built that all ‘hangs together’ then find it needs to move over 2 pieces. All the individual pieces ARE properly connected, but new information slides the set a bit. Rairly, if ever, is a piece found connected to one where it does not “fit” (where I find most neurotypicals happily do this force fit) and rarely to never is a piece asserted to belong somewhere if it hasn’t had a good trial of the fit first.

    So look back at the number of times folks have poked at something, and then look at the (usually fairly long and detailed and including citations) response. You can see how this goes in practice.

    Where it “has issues” is on political / economic topics. There, folks assume it’s more opinion than fact. (And for many topics and arguments it is). However, most folks blow a gasket when a sacred cow of theirs is shown broken in some way. In particular, the assertion that “Nazi is not right wing” seems to cause great distress.

    Now, no matter how many times I say it, folks STILL want to assert I’ve got some emotional baggage on this. I don’t. What I care about is “getting the facts straight”. It’s more like a botanist looking at the factors that make a particular plant a member of one species or another. So you find that your “prized legume” is really a “prized fabaceae”. You can’t just ignore that fact. So I don’t.

    Nazi and Fasicst ideologies ARE socialist. It simply IS a fact. There are also quite nice OTHER socialisms that do not have their more odious characteristics (profound Nationalism, and in the case of Nazis – profound Racisim; in the case of both Italian Facism and Nazi Germany a certain facination with Strong Man leaders) such as that of Germany today, or England, or even the tepid socialism we are buliding in the USA. Basically, while undercooked Kidney Beans are lethal, peas porridge is just fine… even though both are legumes… (or are they fabaceae now ;-)

    This “kinship” drives the folks who admire “soft socialism” (what is usually called ‘left’ in America today) batshit. IMHO, they need to get over that: For the simple reason that they need to know how to immunize their goals from the ills of falling into the kinship behaviours. In analog: If I know to boil the kidney beans for 10 minutes, I can make a fine chili out of them. If I don’t know that I may put it in the slow cooker and make a lot of folks ill.

    So, faced with some clear historicial facts well documented including that Stalin was the source of the idea that the Nazi were “right wing” and the clear Socialist policies and roots of Fascism your choices are:

    1) Ignore it, follow Stalin, and brand it as “right wing”. Accept the risks of not knowing what to watch for in the development of other Socialisms and “embrace the lie”.

    2) Ignore it, being ignorant, and just float along for the ride as that causes folks to like you more. Practice cocktail party “happy talk”.

    3) Learn the history. See the patterns. Recognize the risks to liberty from Socialism writ large and ugly, and most importantly: Honor truth. Historical truth. Political truth. Economic truth. This path is strewn with folks who will blow up at you because they have chosen path 1 or 2.

    Today, most of the hard core who embrace 1 have left the scene, though a few remain (some in high places, especially in some eastern european countries…)

    Most folks are in the #2 bucket. Especialy in England and the Commonwealth.

    The thing that I find most funny out of my choice of path 3 is the number of folks who, with a profound “I ACCUSE!” tone, assert either that I am “right wing” (as broken as that term is… I usually assume they mean “American right wing since 1990” but who knows really) or, as you did, assert I’m sounding like a sock puppet of “right wing rhetoric”.

    Missing from this is the fact that I am very much not “right wing” (in the post 1990 American definition).

    Some problems with stuffing me into that “pidgon hole”:

    1) I don’t care who has sex with whom in what way. Just:
    a) Don’t make me watch / know about it (even missionary style with your other sex S.O.)
    b) Pay for it, or it’s consequences.
    c) Forget to invite me if … nevermind ;-)

    2) The only people who ought to be involved in a decision about carrying a child to term are the woman and her doctor.

    3) No one in a modern society ought to go hungry nor lack for basic medical care. (HOW I would deliver this is different from most. I’d not make it “nice” nor easy.) When I was a kid we had a ‘county hospital’ that would treat anyone. Only poor folks and accident victims went there if they could afford the better one… it worked. Soup lines are not happy places, but you get fed. “Minimal but effective and universal”. But this idea that everyone over 65 gets free medical care for everything? Millionairs too? Nutty and not sustainable.

    4) What drugs you take ought to be a decision between you and your mouth. Locking folks up for smoking various herbs or even snorting coke is just a waste of resources. We’re no better off for the “war on drugs”; and things in the 1900s (when marijuana and coke were legal) were in many ways better than now. When I was a kid you could buy codiene over the counter (and we did, in cough syrup that actually worked.) The whole ‘anti-drug’ process needs to be scrapped.

    5) What in the hell are we doing in Iraq and Afganistan at this late date? And Germany and Japan and a hundred and one other places on the planet? We are NOT going to fix the world. We don’t need the largest military on the planet and being “adverntursome” just gets a lot of folks killed. I’d get rid of about 1/2 the military budget and concentrate on “safe at home” with “help your neighbor when invited“.

    6) Education through 4 year college ought to be FREE to citizens. Foreigners ought to pay full cost. (WE pay the taxes, not them). It was when I was a kid and worked well. Since then we’ve screwed it up.

    I could go on, but I hope you get the point. My Political beliefs do not accord with the “right wing” dogma (post 1990 American definition).

    Yet I get tarred with that brush at every turn by the folks who want to be in category 1, and many from 2.

    “Serious political philosophers” so an appeal to authority (not facts, not historical documentation, not actions, but authority…) then connected to “right wing” again….

    Murry, if you don’t learn anything else, please please please learn that today “right wing” and “left wing” are nothing more than propaganda terms and have been ever since Stalin redefined them.

    Your long exploration of “what is liberal” mirrors my posting “I am a liberal”. Yes, I’m a “ClassiLiberal”. Then you completely ignore the half of my statement where I said “the alternative is worse”. Then launch into a hypothetical of if only everyone just voluntarily handed over their lunch money the bully wouldn’t need to take it by force. Yeah, and if I had wings I could fly. So what?

    Social liberals must, of necessity, impinge on property rights. It is absolutely essential and is not “paranoid” at all. It’s a simple fact of mechanics.

    IFF I’m to give a free education through college to everyone, I’ve either got to FORCE folks to teach, or offer them money to do it. The first is clearly a loss of liberty. In the second case I have to get that money from someone else. I can tax it, or I can inflate by money printing. BOTH take money from someone else (and most of the population is not keen on having their money taken so someone else gets a free ride). Money that they could have used to do what they wanted to do. To buy property and enjoy it. That is, to USE their property rights in their wealth. I have reduced their liberty of choices, and their property rights.

    There is no case where I take their money and they get to do more with it…

    That it is “a good thing” does not change that fact.

    The other clear case is “monopoly power”. Left to it’s own devices, most markets tend toward oligopolies or monopolies. We’ve “lived the dream” on that one with the Robber Barron era (yet libertarians often want to try it again to see if this time will be different…).

    So again, by force, we have to prevent monopoly power from being used as it destroys liberty too, and it concentrates power in the hands of a few who typically use it for ill. If I’m a slave to “the company store” and work in a coal mine 12 hours a day, I’m not very free.

    By necessity we simply must reduce the freedom and use of their property rights of monopolists, oligopolists, and monopolist ‘wanna-bees’ in order to have a fair and just society. In order that the rest of us can have some liberty too.

    It is clearly a “left wing” behaviour to indulge in ‘trust busting’ and it clearly reduces liberties of the trusts… It curtails their rights to use their property as they see fit, for social goals.

    That it is “a good thing” does not change that fact.

    Per GM:

    What you ignore is “the law”.

    Going in to the GM bankruptcy the law set out clear rules of property rights. Those vested in the bond holders. Pensions were to be shed to the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corportation (a US Goverment sponsored socialist corportation in that it is a creature of the US Govt created by it to provide a social good of pension continuation in failed businesses).

    Obama and friends came in and said, in essence, screw the law, we want a New Deal…

    and that New Deal comes directly from the “Market Socialism” definitions. I’ve cited it a few dozen times, but folks seem to just ignore it. No idea why, but it is a simple fact:

    Avoidance of bankruptcy procedures is a key policy of Market SOCIALISM as it defines itself.

    That is exactly what was done with GM. By Obama.

    Why everyone is so heated up about wanting to deny that truth is beyond me. Just say, loud and proud, “We are following the Market Socialsm playbook as it is best for America!”.

    It will either be shown to work best, and we can all embrace it, or shown to fail, and we can try something else.

    Lying about it doesn’t help anyone and I don’t know why the Administration runs from who it clearly is.

    market socialism

    The idea of market socialism can be traced at least as far back as the New Economic Policy experiments in the USSR of the 1920s which partially and temporarily restored markets and private ownership. In this sense market socialism as a concept and set of programmes is inexplicable outside the actual or purported failures of socialist theory and practice. According to Roemer (1996, p. 13), market socialism is \’any of a variety of economic arrangements in which most goods including Labor are distributed through the price system and the profits of firms, perhaps managed by workers or not, are distributed equally among the population. By what mechanism profits can be so distributed, without unacceptable costs in efficiency, is the central question.\’

    Socialist-type economies were characterized by the centrality of the plan over the market as a form of coordination, by state over private ownership (cf. central planning). More precisely the system of socialist economic planning turned on (i) targets for physical production (the plan); (ii) the absence of price signals for market clearing; and (iii) the absence of bankruptcy (the so-called soft budget constraint). The structural flaws in these sorts of economy — whether China in the 1960s, USSR in the 1940s or Hungary in the 1970s — turned on the conjunction of three characteristics: first, the allocation of most goods by an administrative apparatus under which producers did not have to compete with one another; second, the direct political control of firms; and third, non-competitive, non-democratic politics.

    So as a key definitional aspect we have the “soft budget constraint” of “absense of bankruptcy”. And from this administration we have that page of the playbook as they go off to “forge an agreement to avoid bancruptcy”.

    This was a “Deal” done outside of bankruptcy. If it had gone into the bankruptcy courts as mandatated by law, the bondholders would have gotten the company, the workers benefits would be paid by the PBG Corp, and GM might or might not still be a viable concern (the bond holders might have sold it off in bits.)

    That “The Deal” might well be “a good thing” does NOT change what it is. It is “Market Socialism” straight from the playbook.

    This is economics, not politics. It is how the economic decisions of “who makes what for whom” get made; it is not the “why” nor the “social goals” decisions that come from politics. You either did give the company to the bond holders in bankruptcy court (they get to decide ‘who makes what ‘) or you did not (the government makes a deal).

    And note that it could be a good thing. We just don’t know if this will be a greater social good, or not.

    BUT if it is a good thing that does not change what it IS. Market Socialism.

    (I’ll never understand why socialists spend so much time denying they are socialists. You would think they would be proud of their system. They dominate almost the entire world now in one form or another.)

    More dry economic theory follows, but please read it. It’s very helpful to have this foundation if you want to play economist. Even “political economist”.

    Actually existing socialisms have, as a number of commentators have observed, suffered from a number of ideal-typical dynamics. These included the lack of incentives (the fundamental criterion of the enterprise is the quantity produced determined by negotiation with a central authority), and uncertainty driven in large measure by (i) the systemic shortage of the right and proper inputs, which is reflected in limited inter-enterprise trade, bartering, hoarding, self-sufficiency, gigantism (the scale of enterprises) and hyper-centralization; and (ii) the deleterious consequences of low prices and a limited role of money (Isachsen, Hamilton and Gylfason, 1992). The brilliant Hungarian economist Janos Kornai (1992) systematized this socialist-type economy and inventoried the sorts of problems (forced consumption, rationing, suction, shortage) which emerge from the logic of the plan and the dominance of political over financial accountability.

    Kornai spells out in detail the mechanisms of softening the budget constraint (of keeping inefficient enterprises in business): namely, soft subsidies, soft taxation, soft credit, and soft administered prices. In the economics literature these attributes are typically seen to confer problems of information or agency, and of credible commitment on the part of the state (Bardhan, 1993). According to Roemer (1996, pp. 14-15), communist economies suffered from three principal-agent problems: manager-worker relations on the collective farm or in the state enterprise; the planner-manager relation; and the public-planner relationship.
    The fourth stage was associated with the development of the idea of a market socialism by market reforms in Yugoslavia after 1950, in Hungary after 1968, in China after 1978, and in Poland and USSR in the 1980s. Prices were not fully free and the soft budget constraint was typically maintained with the result that so-called incentive compatibility remained a central theoretical conundrum (see Nove, 1983).

    Finally, the fifth stage was marked by the events of 1989 and the collapse of the socialist bloc. Here the attempt was to construct market socialism as a \’third way\’ between the socialism of old on the one hand and the market-driven shock therapy on the other. Significantly, much of the work of this stage has been developed by western intellectuals — Roemer (1994), Stiglitz (1994), Blackburn (1991) — and rejected much of Lange\’s earlier model. In this new work public ownership is essentially abandoned and rather a multiplicity of different kinds of property rights are explored that would provide incentives for profit maximization but would preclude unequal profit distribution. Here the case of China and the dynamism of township and village enterprises (TVEs) characterized by so-called \’hybrid\’ property rights have attracted much attention (Walder, 1995; Naughton, 1996).

    The most theoretically elaborate model of market socialism is provided by Roemer (1996).
    The debate over market socialism embraces a diversity of programmes and practices which include questions of enterprise self-management, investment policy, incentive compatibility and forms of \’market socialization\’. While market socialism is especially associated with the cases of reformist post-socialist states and forms of experimentation (China, Vietnam, Hungary), other scholars include within the market socialist paradigm the Swedish social democratic model, new forms of so-called associative democracy (Hirst, 1994), and the so-called Third Way programmes of Blair and Clinton (Giddens, 1998). (MW)

    So you see, it isn’t about me. It is about what economic scholars DEFINE as the character of the different types of Socialism.

    Also, as you can see, having corporations operate is well inside the definition of Socialisms. (Only in Communism are property rights so curtailed that the government directly owns all the means of production).

    Further, especially if you read through that last couple of paragraphs, you will notice a trend. The trend is from NO property rights under communism (modulo perhaps a bit of personal clothing and minor personal items) toward increasing property rights.

    THE essential axis here is that Communism (a kind of Socialism of one extreme end) has near zero property rights, and as you “grant” more, you move toward ever more ClasiLiberal market based systems. In the extreme end case you have 100% property rights. You also get monopolists, feudal lords & Kings, and a load of other crap.

    There is a clear spectrum from limited property rights under ever more “strict’ socialisms toward unlimited property rights (and a living hell) under monopolists (of both the “royal’ and “not so royal” sorts…)

    So, IMHO, the question is NOT “do we have complete freedom of property rights” (as many libertarians want as they don’t study history enough… IMHO) nor is it “do we have strong curtailment of property rights” (as many communists and strong socialists want … we’ve run that experiment a few times and it turns out badly too).

    The real quesion is “At what level of minimal intervention in markets, what “minimal market socialism”, is the greatest good for the greatest number to be found?”. IMHO, it’s a bit to the “more property rights” than at present, but a bit to the “less property rights” than we had under Daddy Bush. (But that level of find detail is lost on most folks as they would never want to admit that Daddy Bush had some socialist mechanisms in his government nor that Obama is a clear Market Socialist… so I generally leave it out and just say “Socialism is evil” as most folks correctly map that to stages 1-3 of Socialism above).

    Now go back and look at Italian Fascism and German Nazi governance and you find a great deal that fits very nicely inside the Market Socialsm bucket. They were early experimenters in “the Third Way”. They were praised by fellow “Third Way” travelers such as FDR and Wilson (prior to deciding to go kill them…). And yes, many Corporations LOVE Third Way socialism as it’s a nice goverment Gravy Train for them. This is too long already, so I’ll not put it here, but do some reseach on “Corporatism” and “Third Way”….

    Advocating AGAINST a Third Way Socialism is NOT the same as advocating FOR an anarchy of no government and no government services. But you must also recognize that when the goverment takes your home via emminent domain for a “freeway”, that is a curtailment of your property rights. Your property is being taken, against your will, and for the use of others.

    And that “it is a good thing”, does not change that.

    (Somehow folks also can’t accept the notion that there are a lot of “good things” that take doing “bad things” and that there are a lot of “bad things” done for “good reasons” and that’s OK. A level of ‘strain’ between the ideas that most folks just can’t seem to handle. But it is the essence of life itself. For us to live, other living things must die; and when we die, other living things will live… Yin, meet yang…)

  26. Peter Offenhartz says:

    E.M., I enjoyed your exchange with Murray Duffin. I now understand much better your point of view.

    I do have one remaining question from our previous exchange. What are your thoughts on the 225K emission temperature of the earth’s 15 micron band? I always thought this was incontrovertible evidence of the carbon dioxide greenhouse effect…

  27. Murray Duffin says:

    Most of the zoning laws in my town were put in place by conservative republican administrations, and they sure as hell infringe on my right to do what I want with my property, without infringing the rights of others. The Libertarian view that free markets are best and most efficient is demonstrably more nonsensical than the hope that government can and should help alleviate poverty. Unregulated markets will always lead to concentration and abuse, to the detriment of the greatest number.
    People will always be comprised of a mix of greedy, crooked, lazy, ignorant etc people in a majority that is generally good enough, hard enough working and reasonably successful, and that is why no form of government will work as well as most of us would like.

    However societies will always fail if the uncaring “I’m all right Jack, my parachute’s open” type prevail. Yeah, there are some leaches, so you don’t want to pay either, – then you too become a leach. Some ethic! Hell even Chimpanzees and Baboons take care of their weak.

    So you find your taxes too high. What do you want to give up to lower them? What are reasonable taxes? The USA has the lowest taxes in the world among developed countries. Of course some is wasted, and some is leached. Try a system of government that has no taxation for support. It’s called anarchy, or a “state of nature” where life is “rude, brutish and short”.

    Government is the least efficient at solving problems? Right. Try nationwide toll roads instead of the interstate hiway system, try pay as you go Internet, try state, city or airline run air traffic control, try big pharma managed FDA, etc., etc. Have you seen statistics on the increase in the electricity distribution network breakdowns since it was deregulated? Get serious.

  28. Murray Duffin says:

    “Quite frankly, it’s asinine to believe, as those currently in power apparently do, that after 30 years of frugal hard work, I should share my wealth with those who are neither frugal or hard working. ”

    What about those who didn’t have your abilities by birth, or didn’t have your opportunities. or didn’t have your luck, or didn’t have your health, who worked and tried hard to the best of their abilities, but just couldn’t make it. They should prsctise euthenasia?, or live in squalor and degradation? They outnumber the non frugal and non hard working.

    What about the CEOs who pay themselves 500 times what the hourly worker gets, when they aren’t worth more than 50 times at the outside, and 50 times was considered a max ethical reward 50 years ago. Do you think that free competition for wages works? What about the wall streeters that enrich themselves totally disproportionately to any value they provide, and they only get to do that because we have a free society. Don’t you think they should pay for the opportunity afforded them.

    I too worked hard and lived frugally, and pulled myself up by my bootstraps, achieving a level of success that my father never got to, and I did that because my country gave me the opportunities to do so. Sure I had to have the will and the ability to take advantage of those opportunities, but without the opportunities my will and ability wouldn’t have done much. I am very thankful to repay my society for the opportunities I was afforded, and for the good life I still get to live, and to provide opportunity for the next poor bugger whose parents couldn’y quite make it.

    You got the same opportunities, and you pulled it off in only 30 years! WOW. But you don’t want to repay anything. What a sorry bugger you are.

  29. PhilJourdan says:

    @Murray – you should have stopped at “abilities”. The rest is pure sophistry. Or more exact – a call for “equality of outcome” since that is what you are asking for. And is impossible. Some are faster than others, some are stronger, some are smarter. ALL have the same opportunities.

    He has nothing to “repay”. As there was no payment to begin with outside of the opportunity. So in essence you are contradicting yourself. You acknowledge all had the opportunity – and some took advantage of it, some did not. It is not our fault if people do not take advantage of it – it is called life and living.

    I would bet with all your screeching, that EM donated more to charity in one year than you have in your entire life. Those who yell “unfair” usually want someone else to make it fair, not themselves.

  30. H.R. says:

    @ Murray, who wrote in part, “What are reasonable taxes?”

    If you’ll recall, I asked first.

    As for the rest of your post, I don’t disagree with many of your points… it’s a question of degree.

    Just thowing a couple of things out there: I don’t mind paying taxes for roads. I do mind paying taxes for the Cowboy Poetry project or any public funding of the arts, monuments, etc. It reminds me too much of the Pyramid thing; vanity at a cost to others.

    I am my brother’s keeper, not the government (cuts out the middleman that way, eh?). From each according to his abilities; to each according to his needs, but there’s no reason really to involve the government is there?

    Taxes in the U.S. may be lower than in other parts of the world but didn’t your mother ever teach you the folly of jumping off a bridge just because everyone else is doing it? That argument didn’t wash with her, it didn’t wash with my mother, and it doesn’t wash with me.

    BTW, there’s anarchy on one end of the political spectrum and and centrally planned economies with strictly regulated societies on the other end, si? One end has no government and the other end has too much. Historically, neither works. So I ask again, in your opinion, what is the role of government? Nanny state? Gentle hand on the tiller? What?

  31. E.M.Smith says:

    Peter Offenhartz
    I do have one remaining question from our previous exchange. What are your thoughts on the 225K emission temperature of the earth’s 15 micron band? I always thought this was incontrovertible evidence of the carbon dioxide greenhouse effect…

    As I said before, convection simply dominates radiation. IR just does not matter.

    Since you clearly did NOT do as suggested and type “peril” into the search box to the the answer, here is the link for you. Now all you have to do is click it. (Yes, I’m measuring your degree of ‘commitment’ with incrementally lower hurdles of self motivation. You are now just one “click” above “minimal”…)

    For a simpler view:

    where you can SEE the hot air rising and dumping heat at altitude.

    Of what possible importance is a theoretical model of IR emmisions in a static column of air when the air is not static?

    If you look in this posting (yes, you need to actually click the link and read it, then click another link in it and read the referenced paper):

    You will find measurements of heat leaving the planet all in the same day. IR Be Damned.

    So, all this heat goes “WHOOSH” up into the Mesosphere / Thermosphere were IR is imporant to dumping heat. What happens then?…34E2251O

    There were obtained following values of global average cooling rate: 3, 10, 20, and 15 K/day at altitudes 90, 100, 110, and 120 km, respectively. The maximum values of cooling rate are of order 20 K/day and occur near about 110 km over the greater part of the Earth surface. For high latitudes on summer, the maximum value of cooling rate increases up to 35 K/day and occurs at altitudes about 105 km. The global average 15 μm CO2 band cooling calculated is found to be able to balance the global average heating of the atmosphere due to absorption of solar UV emission within altitude range of 100-110 km.

    Now, as we’ve recently had UV fall off a cliff, there is even LESS heating from “UV emission” to “dump” so that “CO2 COOLING effect” can dump any heat from land all that much faster.

    Yes, you read that right, COOLING from CO2.

    Transfer of radiation in the 15 μm band of CO2 under non-local thermodynamic equilibrium (non-LTE) conditions is a main mechanism of cooling of the Earth mesosphere and lower thermosphere (MLT). Exact values of rate of this cooling are necessary to interpret both the temperature structure and dynamic properties observed in the MLT, since energy budget of the atmosphere determines its circulation system. The mechanism of cooling of the atmosphere due to its thermal IR radiation has two stages: due to collisions of air molecules their kinetic energy transforms into the energy of excited molecular states followed by energy loss due to radiative transitions from these states. Photodissociation of molecular oxygen by solar UV emission results in a strong increase of atomic oxygen volume mixing ratio- (vmr) above some altitude in the mesosphere. The rate constant of V T energy transfer in collisions of CO2 molecules with O, k(CO2 -O), is more than two order of magnitude larger than those for collisions with N and O2 . So, above 80 km the2 CO2 -O collisions are a significant pathway of transfer of thermal air energy into the energy of the CO2 vibrational states excited in the 2 mode. Above about 95 km this mechanism becomes dominant.

    So, convection down low makes the 15 micron CO2 IR “window” pointless “mental onanism” and at higher elevations it provides COOLING.

    Of course, all that “mental flossing” with CO2 IR spectrum manipulation only matters at all if the CO2 is actually there. We assume it is, but…

    Recently it’s been shown that at the temperatures “up high” you can have stable “Carbonic Gas” (that’s a CO2 with a water attached as a gas). Until just a year or so ago, folks thought that was impossible, and all the “models” are built on that assumption. But we’ve now made it in the lab:

    Does it happen in nature?

    No one knows… (My guess would be yes, but probably not the dominant species).

    So up in that stratosphere (just below that mesosphere and thermosphere that are using CO2 to DUMP the heat) and above that troposphere that is convecting the heat up) how do you really know what is happening with the CO2? It might not be there at all…

    Oh, they are still trying to figure out the IR spectrum of carbonic gas, so you get to wait a while to find out what it might do, not do, or what it would look like to satellites…

    One other minor point, as the atmspheric “height” has just gotten squashed down a whole bunch and the thermosphere gotten quite a bit colder as the sun has cut UV, all those IR models based on fixed air column height and static end point temps are trash and need to be reworked…

    Other than that, it’s a great model /sarcoff>

    There is also this interesting little bit:

    The stratosphere is layered in temperature because ozone (O3) here absorbs high energy UVB and UVC energy waves from the Sun and is broken down into monoatomic oxygen (O) and diatomic oxygen (O2). Monoatomic oxygen is found prevalent in the upper stratosphere due to the bombardment of UV light and the destruction of both ozone and diatomic oxygen. The mid stratosphere has less UV light passing through it, O and O2 are able to combine, and is where the majority of natural ozone is produced. It is when these two forms of oxygen recombine to form ozone that they release the heat found in the stratosphere.

    So as the UV tanks, and then the ozone tanks, the stratosphere ought to have more “recombining” and thus more heat dumping. It also ought to happen higher up as the UV falls off. So more effective heat dump through the stratosphere when UV plunges. Interesting… (Yes, I just found this, and there might be some bits that change how this looks to work, but that’s how it looks to me on ‘first reading’.)

    All the above then changes how the air flows, and that can in turn cause more cooling and albedo changes:

    So if you like, you can go play with a static air column fixed UV level CO2 rich (and non-carbonic) radiative model.

    But as I’m not interested in Fantasy and Science Fiction much any more, I’m going to stick with the Real Life Drama, it’s much more interesting and even useful.

    Yes, I expect you to read ALL those pages. That’s where the answers are found.

  32. George says:


    What has always bothered me is that if people feel they aren’t being taxed enough, they can always make a donation. The treasury does accept donations as do most states. For example … if you really believe that it is imperative to fund cowboy poetry, there is nothing stopping you making the donation directly to them or to the government. Why is it important that other people demand that *I* fund cowboy poetry? Maybe I hate cowboy poetry and wish it would die. The government should reflect the culture, not direct it.

    And one thing I have learned in my life is that a poet will write poetry funding or no funding, it is what they do, it is what they love. Why would giving a cowboy poet money make them a better poet? In fact, it might make for a lot of bad “cowboy” poets getting on the gravy train. It might pollute the supply of cowboy poets.

  33. H.R. says:


    Excellent points. particularly, “The government should reflect the culture, not direct it.”

    Well said.

  34. E.M.Smith says:

    @H.R.: If only it were thus…

  35. Since I was only recently introduced to this blog, and have enjoyed all the contributions, I’ve been going back reading the archives. The “carping comments” posts explain why the quality is so high. EM – thanks for doing the necessary work to keep the E-jits from your pages.

    OK, it’s going to take a long time to read 3 years’ worth of pretty prolific blogging, but it looks like it will be an education that’s worth it. The older posts are still very much valid, which in some ways is unfortunate – not enough people have read them (or understood them) to have made a difference yet. Changing the way the world works is not far short of impossible – I feel that I can only live in what I think is the right way and let others know details when they ask. You can influence people you are in contact with – if they agree and think it’s right then they can also serve as examples and maybe enjoy life more.

    A lot of the problems in modelling stem from bad assumptions – even in electronics modelling such as Spice that are the foundation of making new chips. In that case, you model it, find out what you can, then build it and measure it to see if it’s good enough to sell. If not, do the tweaks based on measurements from the real device.
    It is obvious that the atmosphere is not “well-mixed” since otherwise there would be no wind – at all. Ditto for oceans – no ocean currents, no gyres, no Gulf Stream, no currents from saline/density variations. It is also obvious that nearly all the temperature gained in the day is lost at night, and that cooling is pretty quick when the sun stops shining – look at the temperature drops during an eclipse of the sun. Since that is so, it must also be obvious that any extra energy gained during the day will also take a bit longer to cool but that there is an inbuilt negative-feedback from the 4th power heat laws.
    A model that glosses over the diurnal variations and thus has an inbuilt bias to accumulate temperature is obviously wrong. Add to that the bad data-handling that is then fed in to the model. The results from that model will thus also be way wrong and yet we are spending a lot of money and destroying a lot of peoples’ jobs and happiness based on a those premises and the assumption that the IPCC is correct. I’ll stop there since I’m repeating myself….

Comments are closed.