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The Pot Calls the Kettle Black

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In what must be the zenith of the pot calling the kettle black, the U.S. government announced last week that it and 15 states are suing Apple and other major book publishers for price fixing electronic books. The Justice Department is alleging that the price fixing publishers have agreed to convert the retailers who sell their e-books into agents who continue to sell their e-books but no longer have the ability to decide what retail price to charge for them. Thus, all prices are determined at the publisher level, allowing the executives in those companies to collude to ensure higher profits for all to enjoy. The DOJ estimates that by adding $2, $3 or as much as $5 to the price of many New York Times bestsellers and mass market paperback titles over the last two years, consumers have been ripped off by over $100 million.

Now, on the surface this may sound shocking. You are probably thinking here is yet another example of corporate bigwigs gouging the little guy. And that is what Attorney General Eric Holder and President Obama want you to think. See, then they can ride in on white horses, file a lawsuit that will cost the defendants so much money that they settle out of court and therefore look guilty of actually doing something wrong , and save the day for average e-book buying Americans. It fits into that government as the great protector of the masses mentality.

But, the real truth is that even without knowing that publishers may have conspired to increase book prices, no one was forced into buying them in the first place. Consumers make choices about what to buy every day and some, if not most, of the time those decisions are based on cost. If they felt the jacked-up prices of the e-books were too expensive, they could have chosen not to buy them. Enough consumers making this choice would have broken the back of the conspirators and forced them either collaboratively or individually to lower prices to market level (the equilibrium point). Consequently, the collusion would have been destroyed through natural means and consumers would have reasserted their position of dominance in the market economy.

Additionally, this is America and consumers have other options. Instead of buying the overpriced e-books, consumers could have purchased any of the potentially millions of used books offered on Amazon for literally pennies on the dollar, to say nothing of buying from used book stores and thrift shops, which usually stock an ample selection of good reads.

Naturally, whenever the feds bring lawsuits against sellers for any kind of anti-trust or price fixing scheme, they always neglect to take into account property rights. After all, who owns the product to be sold and why is the consumer entitled to it? In the case of the most recent assault on property rights by the DOJ, the publishers own the rights to the e-books and can choose to sell them or not. If they choose to sell them, they have the right to charge whatever price they wish, even if they limit selection or competition through collusion. The e-books are the property of the publishers, just as a person’s home is their property. When selling, do homeowners not retain the right to set their own price?

In a market economy, prices are determined through interactions between buyers and sellers. If sellers venture outside of this process, they run the risk of lost revenue or mal-investment. If they arbitrarily set a price for a product that is below market expectations, that is to say the equilibrium price, where the amount supplied equals the amount demanded at a given price then a shortage will result and the seller will lose revenue: the difference between the artificially low set price and the equilibrium price for each book. If the seller arbitrarily sets the price for a product above market expectations, once again the equilibrium price, a surplus will result and the seller will experience mal-investment, using capital to produce a quantity that wasn’t completely sold. Of course the seller can always lower prices toward the equilibrium price and thereby clear his inventory, and this is what would ultimately happen. The fact that this did not happen in the case of Apple and its co-conspirators is proof the price fixing was not egregious enough to deter consumers from buying the e-books at the alleged inflated price. So then, where is the harm?

At the end of the day no one is entitled to another’s property through the coercive power of government. Instead of meddling in affairs that are better handled by the free market, Uncle Sam should worry about the truly monopolistic price fixing scheme that he has been complicit in since 1913, and this is where this whole ordeal reeks of the pot calling the kettle black. Unlike the market, where consumers have choices and options, through legal tender laws Americans do not have any choices or options with regards to the money they use. Since 1913, the Federal Reserve Bank, with Congress’ blessing, has arbitrarily fixed the price of the dollar through interest rate setting and monetary manipulations. This price fixing scheme is responsible for the dollar losing 95 percent of its value over the last 99 years. It is the price fixing scheme that affects real people’s lives through erosion of savings and higher living costs. It is the one responsible for forcing both spouses to work to make ends meet and the destruction of the middle class. So while Attorney General Eric Holder is concerned about $100 million that he alleges e-book purchasers have been ripped off for in the last two years he really should be concerned about the trillions of dollars Americans have been ripped off by the Federal Reserve since 1913. In other words Mr. attorney general, “Why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own?”

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About Kenn Jacobine

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Since America’s been going down the tubes since 1913, exactly how is it that we’re still (at least for now) number one on the planet when it comes to GDP, military power, and cultural influence?

  • Kenn Jacobine

    You said it Glenn, “At least for now”.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Hey – we’ve been number one for 99 years now…so since we supposedly set ourselves up for failure in 1913, why haven’t we crashed and burned in the 99 years hence? Hm? 99 years is a LONG time in the modern world, you know.

  • Kenn Jacobine

    Well, the downfall began in 1913 with the Federal Reserve Act. We have been on a steady decline since 1971 when Nixon bowed to his banking masters and closed the gold window to foreign redemption. So yes the seeds for the inevitable collapse which is coming began in 1971 when the floodgates for all the reckless spending for endless wars and the welfare state was enabled to bloom unencumbered.

  • Zingzing

    Could the world even function today like it did 40+ years ago? It was unstable then and it’s unstable now, but what would have occurred had Nixon stuck w the gold standard? What wouldn’t have happened? There would be good things and bad things, I’m sure… And I don’t think everything would be rosy and peachy keen.

  • Kenn Jacobine

    Two things are for sure: the cost of living would not be nearly as high as it is now, and the U.S.A. would not be financially bankrupt.

  • zingzing

    how do you know those things are “sure”? economics depend on a lot of things, not just one factor. i think you place a lot of faith in your chosen golden idol, but i don’t know if it’s warranted. the gold standard is not the answer to all your problems, kenn. if it was, why would anyone abandon it? it wasn’t perfect… nothing is.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Kenn –

    You’re choosing – repeat, choosing – not to get what I’m pointing out to you. America was the greatest industrial power from WWI through the 1990’s despite all the wracking changes we had during that time. We did not shrink in power or influence during that time – we GREW almost constantly, except for the Depression. If our economy took a poison pill in 1913, we would not have progressed as we did for nearly a full century through all the incredible challenges and upheavals since then. If the century’s worth of decline had happened before the Industrial Revolution, then you might have had a point – empires took a lot longer to fall then. But since the beginning of radio empires have risen and fallen MUCH faster than ever before…and 99 years at the top is a long time indeed in the modern world.

    Kenn, what’s happening is that you’re trying so hard to find what went wrong, and you’re staking your reputation (on BC, at least) on your interpretation of history…but at the same time you’re flatly ignoring the grand sweep of history that disproves your allegations. You’re trying to force the facts to fit your assumptions and your political/economic theory, and it’s simply not working.

    Kenn, you know the details of history better than I – and I’ve got no problem admitting that. But it’s sort of like you’re an auto mechanic with a wealth of knowledge of most or all of the parts of the engine, but your weakness lies in your attempts to put all those parts together into an engine that works well. You’re choosing to leave out parts of that engine, and as a result the engine you’re putting together, well, it just ain’t working as it should.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    Kenn: The government created the Federal Reserve, thereby sealing our doom!
    Us: But that was almost 100 years ago, during which time a lot of terrible things happened including two world wars. Yet we’re still here.
    Kenn: Ah, but then Nixon abandoned the gold standard. We’re doomed!
    Us: But that was more than 40 years ago, and a lot of water has passed under the bridge since then. Yet we’re still still here.
    Kenn: Ah, but just wait…!

  • Kenn Jacobine

    And I thought I would get a hard time from you guys because of my position on price collusion.

  • Clavos Juarez Santana Zapata

    You would get a hard time from those guys if your next article took a position on nothing.

    You’re a conservative in their eyes; that’s enough.

  • http://www.RosesSpanishBoots.com Christopher Rose

    I’ve no idea if Kenn is a conservative or not, nor do I care. What I care about is that the argument put forth in his article is bullshit.

    The basic premise, that there is a parallel between corporate price fixing and the price of the US dollar is gibberish.

    Beyond that, it is actually the role of government to protect the people; people were not able to make other choices as the ebook is a single format; buying ebooks to read on e-readers is a new phenomenon and the publishers clearly colluded to take advantage of the natural enthusiasm for this; it is entirely speculative and not at all certain that “Enough consumers making this choice would have broken the back of the conspirators”; consumers don’t have a “position of dominance” in the economy; buying a second hand physical book is not an alternative choice at all; the property rights argument is a complete red herring of utter meaninglessness, as is the comparison to selling a home; the lecture about the nature of the market is entirely theoretical and betrays a complete lack of understanding of actual real business; and with an e-book there is no physical product or inventory at all.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    Whether Kenn is a conservative or not is by the by. Whether his argument is complete bollocks or not is more important. (A question which I think Chris has settled quite thoroughly in #12.)

    I personally don’t regard Kenn as a conservative, since there is precious little of the status quo that he seems to want to conserve. And also since he seems to find the resemblance between most GOP politicians and toe fungus as striking as I do.

  • Kenn Jacobine

    Chris,

    “The role of government is to protect the people”.

    We absolutely agree. In the above case it includes private property protection which is the foundation of a market system. If people don’t have a right to their own property then the system falls apart. It is one of the major reasons why the developing world is so far behind.

  • http://frivolousdisorder.com/ Frivolous D

    Kenn,

    You do realize that when there is a conspiracy to fix a market (e.g. undermining free market mechanisms) it is oxymoronic to believe that a free market can fix it.

    Price fixing is a conspiracy to suppress market competition. I’m presuming that you are a libertarian. As such, I know how much you hate any government. But really, in what conceivable universe do anti-trust laws – those laws dedicated to preserving the integrity of a free and open markets – violate your libertarian sensibilities?

  • http://frivolousdisorder.com/ Frivolous D

    Carlos, re: #11

    I’ve just read a number of Warren Beatty’s articles and they are often about nothing so you may well be right.

  • ST Y’all M

    I’m glad Kenn’s not teaching my kids.

  • ST Y’all M

    However, price collusion obviously DOES occur, and more often than you’d think at a corporate level.

    Bt it has nothing to do with the rate of the US dollar. In fact, the drop in the US dollar has actually aided the snail’s pace US recovery by opening up new export markets.

    When the dollar stays high (Wall St’s “King Dollar” – and it was artificially high and propped up in trading by vested interests who were making a buck out of it – those who might otherwise buy US goods overseas don’t because of the high cost, and turn to cheaper alternatives.

    That means US jobs being shed, across the board.

    Nothing gladdens my heart more than to see American fruit and goodies on the supermarket shelves in Australia, and American cars on the road.

    Because, looking from down here at our cousins across the big blue pond, it means far fewer ordinary working people losing jobs, houses and all hope for the future in America.

    The lower dollar is probably not benefiting Americans abroad at the moment such as Kenn, but the fall hasn’t been that marked and it’s all relative.

    The dollar is probably exactly where it should be right now, and previously at its high levels it wasn’t, particularly with American jobs moving offshore.

    At some point, with Wall Street lining its pockets too by selling investors the equivalent of a bet on two flies crawling up a wall, the bubble had to burst.

  • http://www.RosesSpanishBoots.com Christopher Rose

    Kenn, whilst delighted that you agree with me, your #14, although true, is not relevant to your poorly thought out article.

    I too am opposed to big government but some regulation is always going to be necessary whilst there are people who have no ability to act responsibly without being regulated and controlled.

  • Kenn Jacobine

    So, I have widgets to sell. But I choose not to. Am I forced to sell them? I believe the most hardened statist would say no? So why should it matter what price I sell them for if I don’t legally have to even sell them?

    Secondly, I have widgets to sell and Glenn does to. We get together, open a store and sell them all together for the same price? Is that collusion?

    The bottom line is that if you own something you have a right to do with it whatever you want as long as you don’t violate the right of others to do the same thing. So if you use your car intentionally or accidentally to damage the car of another you owe the other person for damages to make them whole. If I want to sell something to someone I have an absolute right to do it or not and with that comes the right of choosing the price no matter how derived. That is freedom. That is what it means to have private property right. I am not saying collusion is a good thing. I am saying it is a right under private property rights and yes the free market has a mechanism to deal with it as I so brilliantly laid out in the above article.

    Christopher,
    “…there are people who have no ability to act responsibly without being regulated and controlled.”

    So you want to put some of those same people in charge of your life?

  • http://www.RosesSpanishBoots.com Christopher Rose

    Kenn, raising irrelevant arguments that aren’t pertinent to the situation you wrote about neither helps your argument or makes you look any more organised.

    Collusion – or market rigging to give it a more accurate name – is not legal and actually prevents free market forces coming into effect.

    The only thing that is brilliant here – in the sense of dazzling – is your commitment to a deeply flawed understanding of the situation. I presume your dogma is blinding you.

    Making glib but inaccurate wisecracks neither convinces or amuses either…

  • http://frivolousdisorder.com/ Frivolous D

    Kenn,

    I kind of feel like you are Monty Python’s Black Knight guarding the bridge… You seem to be completely unaware of having lost both arms and both legs.

    You lost your first arm here: “Consumers make choices about what to buy every day and some, if not most, of the time those decisions are based on cost.” Price fixing is, almost by definition, a denial of consumer choice. “Enough consumers making this choice…” is just plain irrational because consumers are being denied a choice.

    You lost your other arm here: “Naturally, whenever the feds bring [an anit-trust lawsuit] they always neglect to take into account property rights.” Generally, the author retains ownership the property and the publisher holds a license to distribute and publish. Therefore price fixing amongst publishers is also a conspiracy against the author who is the property owner. An argument against the lawsuit does not represent the best interests of the property owner. In short, you are the one neglecting to take into account property rights.

    And off with your leg (This is where is gets almost surreal): “Why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own?” You forward a naive and flawed argument that price-fixing will inherently be corrected by a free market. Then pivot to attack the government for… price-fixing. At this point, whether it is a “speck” or a “log” is really just a question of scale. Either price fixing is okay or it is wrong. Or are you a “cafeteria” libertarian.

    And I will take a whack at your forth leg here: I can only assume that, in your mind, collective bargaining would enjoy the same privilege as the publishers. After all, your own arguments states that, in a free market, there is no compelling economic reason to interfere with a conspiracy to fix prices.

  • Kenn Jacobine

    Frivolous,

    I am going to bed now. I will respond to each of your points tomorrow.

  • Kenn Jacobine

    Frivolous,

    As to your first point, consumers still have the choice of not buying the product. They do have a choice. And if they don’t buy it the price will come down to clear the market. If you have ever gone to a baseball game you would know that the price of food is jacked-up (price gouging). Beers cost $10 and hot dogs $8. I usually wait until the ninth inning when they need to get rid of the Dominoes Pizza and slash the price in half. It is the same principle.

    As to your second point, authors contract with publishers. If publishers violate the terms of a contract they should be held accountable. The bigger point is that publishers also want to produce profits for themselves as well as the authors they serve otherwise they are out of business. What incentive would a publisher have to price fix in order to not sell books and thereby hurt an author?

    As to your third point, Americans do not have an option to use any other currency in the domestic U.S. Stores, retailers, and other suppliers accept dollars only. Thus if you want to eat you must use dollars. Nothing controls how much the government through the Fed can price fix the dollar. They can inflate dollars infinitely like they are currently doing. Again if you want to read buy a used book to break the back of the price fixers.

    As to your last point, people are free to organize to sell their labor and business is free to say no thank you you are asking too much. There are two private resources involved. One is the labor of the workers who are free to shop it on the open market and the other is the business enterprise who is free to shop jobs on the open market. Neither side should be forced to accept by coercion the other. It would result in slavery for the workers or forced unionization for business owners. Both are equally wrong.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Kenn –

    By your ‘logic’, then, Big Oil could collude and collectively decide to charge, say, $7 a gallon…and since people can choose not to buy gasoline, hey, that’s no problem, right?

    Except that something happens as a result. You see, with such price-fixing on gasoline there’s a trickle-down effect, one that conservatives claimed would also work with tax cuts and breaks for the wealthy (but which trickle-down effect never worked in practice). That trickle-down effect for gasoline would show itself in grocery-store prices, heating oil prices, bus fare prices, all of which would slam the poor even if they never bought a gallon of gasoline themselves.

    Kenn, Libertarians and ONLY Libertarians believe in such tripe…which is why I have a lower opinion of Libertarians than I ever did of Republicans – y’all reject pragmatism and ignore common sense and history itself just to adhere to a dogma that is every bit as unworkable as its polar opposite, communism.

  • Kenn Jacobine

    Glenn,

    Do you even know how hard collusion is to maintain? It would take one player in the drama to break ranks. Even OPEC can’t agree and then maintain a collusion on obscene price fixing. You statists listen to the fear mongers in Washington way too much.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    Do you even know how hard collusion is to maintain? It would take one player in the drama to break ranks.

    And yet you expect us to believe that the entire global financial community has colluded for over 40 years in hiding the truth about the gold standard.

  • Igor

    #25-Glenn: I’m getting to that point myself: “…ONLY Libertarians believe in such tripe…which is why I have a lower opinion of Libertarians than I ever did of Republicans..”

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Kenn –

    You really need to get off the dogmatic Kool Aid. Price-fixing is bad. It was bad in the days of Teddy Roosevelt, and it’s bad today.

    And you accuse me of being a statist – fine, absolutely! But make sure of which form of statism you’re referring to, whether I’m a totalitarian statist (which is what is found on the conservative Right) or minarchist (which is rather libertarian in its views) or somewhere in between. When it comes to the state, my view has always been a variation of “the larger the population and the greater the level of technology, the greater the degree of regulation that will be required, and the larger the government that will be required to enforce that regulation.”

    Remember, Kenn – I believe in “goldilocks” government: neither too big nor too small, neither too powerful nor too weak. Those of you who want government to be so small that you can drown it in a bathtub are living in a dream, because there is NO WAY that a large, diverse, and technologically-advanced nation can function without a comprehensive government in place to preserve the orderly day-to-day function of that nation. You don’t like that, fine. But that’s the way it is, whether you like it or not.

  • http://frivolousdisorder.com/ Frivolous D

    The economic model of Libertarianism is elegant, simple and pure – as long as people don’t behave like people. Like Glen, I have felt for years that hardcore libertarians are as naive as the Leninists. “It would all be so perfect if only people would behave exactly as I think they should.”

    So far, the only point that you are successfully making is that dogma can overrule cognitive dissonance. To wit: Price-Fixing is a denial of choice. PERIOD! The only distinction you could blushingly make between currency and ebooks is one of scale. If you want to cling to a shred of consistency, then with currency, you do have a choice. Barter, grow your own food, move to another country. Give it a shot!

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    Another thing Kenn overlooks is that the consumer’s choice is limited again because he can be easily manipulated.

    Take the price of gasoline as a case in point. A few weeks ago we here in San Diego were all deploring the fact that gas was $4.69 a gallon. Now it’s back down to $4.19 a gallon and we all think it’s great.

    Great, that is, unless you remember that it was $3.45 a gallon just a few months ago.

    I’ll hazard a guess that it’s never going below $4.00 again – yet everyone’s happy. Just as everyone will be happy next spring when the price goes from $5.50 down to $5.10.

  • Igor

    #20-Kenn: your logic is wrong when you say:

    Christopher,
    “…there are people who have no ability to act responsibly without being regulated and controlled.”

    So you want to put some of those same people in charge of your life?

    Not me. I want you to put ME in charge of those irresponsible people through my vote, i.e., through my government.

    As it is, the irresponsible ones are protected by the whole massive corporate system and their paid-for servants in the government. The only chance the poor citizen has is through his vote.

  • Igor

    #26-Kenn: Collusion is very easy to maintain, and usually only is overcome when there is a whistleblower who risks everything: career, income, etc., to perform an under-appreciated public service.

    Do you even know how hard collusion is to maintain? It would take one player in the drama to break ranks. Even OPEC can’t agree and then maintain a collusion on obscene price fixing. You statists listen to the fear mongers in Washington way too much.

    The longest anyone has spent in prison for price-fixing is 30 days.

    You listen to corporate soothsayers too much, Kenn.

  • Kenn Jacobine

    Igor,

    So, which corporatist will you be voting for in November – Romney or Obama?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Kenn –

    So, which corporatist will you be voting for in November – Romney or Obama?

    Hm – one wants the corporations to pay their fair share of taxes, and the other wants to slash the corporate tax rate even further. The corporations (particularly those that have paid little or no taxes for the past several years) are strongly for the latter and against the former.

    Yet you call the former a ‘corporatist’. I’ll be voting for the former, thank you very much, and proudly so. Besides, I really don’t want to vote for the guy who said that Arizona’s anti-illegal-immigrant laws are a model for the nation, and then ten hours later denied he ever said so.

  • Kenn Jacobine

    Glenn,

    There is no difference between Romney and Obama. You can continue to delude yourself or maybe you know the truth but your dogma will not allow you to admit it publicly. Obama voted for all the bailouts. Obama has Geithner as his Treasury Secretary. Immelt is a close advise. Buffet who makes all sorts of money from the government is his hero now. Zuckerberg and other Silicon Valley types are colluding with the government to spy on Americans. Obama re-appointed Bernanke to the Fed. And if you look at his list of donors it is a who is who of Wall Street. The insurance companies didn’t lobby against Obamacare because they are in to make a fortune from it unless of course the High Court does the right thing. Obama won’t have $1 billion to spend on his reelection campaign because average citizens and mom and pop businesses support him. He like Romney is bought and paid for by big business. And while we are at it lump in the military/security/industrial complex as well. Get a grip Glenn. Sometimes you do make some arguable points on this site, but this one is right up there next to 3rd World countries are libertarian states. LMAO

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Kenn –

    Big Business does not want Obama – they simply don’t. But he DOES need donations from them.

    Why is that, Kenn? Why is it that Obama MUST have donations from Big Business? Because that’s how America’s modern political system is designed, and you know it. Thanks to the Republicans, corporations have more control over our government than they ever have in American history. If you’ll look back over our 20th-Century history, when the Democratic party was strong in Congress, Big Business was not so much in control.

    But now? Does Citizens United ring a bell? “Corporations are people, my friend” – that’s from Mitt Romney.

    BUT you don’t see what your biggest misconception is, do you? You badly want limited government with a minimum of regulation of the corporate world, yet at the same time you want the corporate world to have less influence over our government…AND YOU CAN’T HAVE BOTH. If government is weaker, that leaves a power vacuum which the corporate world will rush to fill…and that is PRECISELY what they have done. Nature abhors a vacuum, and the same is true of politics regardless of what political system is in place. You as an historian should know that instinctively!

    You can’t have it both ways, Kenn – you can either have a government strong enough to regulate the corporations as necessary, OR you can have corporations telling the government what it will and won’t do. Your choice, Kenn – let’s hear it.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    And Kenn – 71% of your fellow Liberatarians voted for the Republicans in the last presidential election anyway…so if you have a problem with corporations owning our politicians, your fellow Libertarians share a good portion of the blame.

  • Kenn Jacobine

    You didn’t dispute any of my points. Your only defense of Obama is that he has to play the game to win. That is because winning is more important to him than fixing the country. He has done very little to change things from the Bush years. His biggest accomplishment will be a bonanza for insurance companies.

    See, we have a fascist (corporatist) state precisely because we have abandoned constittutional government. You have your regulations on business but who writes the laws – corporate lawyers and lobbyists and politicians owned through campaign contributions by Wall Street.

    As to most libertarians voting Republican, I am not most libertarians. It is a moot point. I was asking Igor which corporatist he planned on voting for since he thinks his vote counts so much

    BTW last time I voted for a Republican other than Ron Paul was in 1988. I was young and naive in those days.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    Well, George H.W. was the ex-head of the CIA. He probably brainwashed you into voting for him. :-)

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    I really don’t want to vote for the guy who said that Arizona’s anti-illegal-immigrant laws are a model for the nation, and then ten hours later denied he ever said so.

    Glenn, unfortunately Rachel Maddow span this one quite a bit.

    If you watch the video of the debate, what Romney was describing as “a model” was the state law requiring employers to use E-Verify when hiring – not S.B. 1070. So he’s quite correct to state that he never expressed support for “papers please”.

    That doesn’t let him off the hook entirely. In the debate, he along with the other candidates was asked a direct question – with Sheriff Joe Arpaio in the audience – about whether he supported S.B. 1070. He didn’t answer it: instead, he pulled off the classic politician’s trick of changing the subject and answering a different, but related question of his own invention. It was pretty slick.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Kenn –

    Go back to what I said about the power vacuum – can you point out any time in history (particularly since the advent of the Industrial Revolution) where a stable nation had a limited government and in which the corporations of the day did not exercise undue power in government?

    I contend that in any modern government, you can have one or the other, that no significant nation can exist without one or the other. If you cannot show otherwise, then this should make obvious the necessity of a government strong enough (read: big enough) to resist the influence of corporate money.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doc #41 –

    Thanks for the rebuke – I appreciate it. I should know better.

  • Kenn Jacobine

    Oh Doc, it is worse than that. I voted for Pat Robertson in the primary – ouch!!

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Kenn –

    Ow – but the fact that you’re willing to admit it shows you’ve got guts, and I can respect that!

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Kenn –

    This is off-topic, but when it comes to doing things that really weren’t well thought-out, here’s one that will bring a smile to your face.

    My wife had a boyfriend back in the P.I. when she came to the states way back when, and the long-distance relationship didn’t last…but I guess he couldn’t get over it. He wound up getting married on the rebound and, when he and his wife had their first baby, he named the child with a mixture of his name and my wife’s name (which is not unusual in the P.I.). Well, the wife didn’t know that and didn’t put the pieces together and everything was fine…until the boy was eleven years old and she read her husband’s letter from another woman and learned the truth…which means that every time she says her son’s name, she’s reminded that her husband named him after his ex-girlfriend. She stuck with her husband to this day, but I can only imagine the hell she put him through…or maybe that’s why she stuck with him, to make his life hell out of sheer desire for revenge.

    That in my book is the dumbest thing that any man has ever done.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    I voted for Pat Robertson in the primary – ouch!!

    Eek!

    [suggests appropriate soundtrack]

  • Kenn Jacobine

    Glenn,

    There is no question that any government is prone to influence from corporatism. That is another reason I am a minimal, not small but minimal government guy. It is worse today than at any time in our history because we have strayed so far from the Constitution, there is so much more wealth and perks to distribute, and we have a central bank that is more than willing to monetize all the goodies that Congress doles out.

  • http://jetsgayheadlinenews-jet.blogspot.com/ Jet Gardner

    Well it makes perfectly good sense to vote for Pat Robertson. After all he was the one who said that Haiti’s earthquake was because hundreds of years ago they sold their souls to the devil (excuse me Satan) in return for their independence from France.

    I wonder what he thought the earthquake centered in Virginia near his home base that damaged Washington was about?

    [sound of crickets chirping]

  • Kenn Jacobine

    I am sure he viewed it as a sign from God that He is upset with the Obama Administration.

    Glenn,

    My stepfather had a large tattoo of a woman on his arm. We always suspected it was a former girlfriend or perhaps his first wife at a young
    age. He was pretty sheepish about it, but would never give us a straight answer. We have always warned our boys that there are three things to avoid that are permanent – committing a crime, getting a girl pregnant, and getting a tattoo.

  • http://jetsgayheadlinenews-jet.blogspot.com/ Jet Gardner

    You forgot that in Louisiana the governor can undo you doing a crime Kenn, tattoos can be lasered off now, and getting a girl pregnant…

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Kenn –

    I tell my youngest son the same thing, and the story I tell is of the tattoo of a naked girl that my grandfather had on his arm and what my grandmother must have thought about it. He didn’t want to listen until my half-brother’s dad showed him that he’d had to have a tattoo surgically removed to get rid of his ex-girlfriend’s name…and since then he hasn’t really mentioned the subject. I guess it did him good to hear it from somebody other than his dad.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Kenn –

    And when it comes to limited government, I understand what you mean – you’re hoping for one that is strong enough to be immune from corporate influence, yet small enough for you to have what you define as your essential freedoms. Do I have that right?

    Assuming that I do, I would submit that the way the 1789 constitution was designed did not and could not account for the complexity of the modern world, and it would be folly to expect it to do so. For instance, look at the CFC’s from spray cans that were causing the ozone holes – would the original Constitution have provided for that? As far as I can tell, all the Constitution could have done would have been to prevent interstate commerce of CFC’s…and the states that wanted to continue to use them could have done so without regard to what would have happened to the world outside its borders.

    Again, the larger the population and the higher the level of technology, the larger and the more comprehensive the government must be in order to preserve order in that society. It has always been that way in any stable nation you care to name.

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