Politics: May 2012 Archives

Brett Kimberlin

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This Brett Kimberlin thing is pretty nuts. He's a convicted terrorist (for bombings in Indiana in 1978), and is apparently threatening people online for trying to out him: Robert Stacy McCain claims he has fled Maryland in response (after only a few days of McCain posting stories about Kimberlin).

There's a lot that Kimberlin is alleged to be responsible for, in addition to his convictions for forgery, bombings, drug smuggling, perjury, etc. Many think his bombings were an attempt to cover up a separate murder. And more recently, it's believed he is making criminal threats, and, worse, actually calling the police claiming to be the target of his harassment, saying he's just murdered people, and giving the target's address. Someone did this to an L.A. County Deputy Prosecutor that Kimberlin disliked, and he suspects it was a certain friend of Kimberlin's (who happened to call him as the SWAT team arrived at his house).

It's hard to figure out what's actually going on with Kimberlin, but one thing's for sure: there's a lot more people trying to figure it out now than a week ago.

Democrats Blew Up Spending

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President Obama claims that Republicans spend more. He's wrong.

Congress passes budgets. The President can only sign them. And if you look at the actual data, it's clear: even though spending was pretty high with Republicans under Bush, it blew up up to record levels with Democratic control of Congress under Bush.

In 2006, the Democrats took control of both houses of Congress for the first time in 12 years, and their first budget (FY 2008) saw a year-over-year increase of spending of $254B, an 8.5% increase. That's a lot.

In FY 2009, Bush's last year in office, he proposed an increase of $124B in spending. While a significant increase (especially with what turned out to be a $419B drop in revenue), the Democrats ended up increasing spending by an astonishing $535B instead (hence the new normal of trillion-dollar deficits). Bush refused to sign it into law, and Obama did. So if Bush didn't ask for it, and wouldn't sign it, why are we attributing it to Bush? At most, we should only attribute the $124B increase to Bush (since he asjed for it), and the extra $411B to Obama (since he approved it).

But the guy who started all this, Rex Nutting at Marketwatch, flips that on its head, saying Obama is responsible for only the $140B in stimulus from FY 2009. That'd make sense if he didn't sign the budget that asked for a lot more money than Bush was willing to spend. Yes, usually the incoming President is not responsible for the budget; but usually, the incoming President doesn't sign a massive request the outgoing President rejected.

As Nutting points out, spending has "flattened" under Obama. But this is not very interesting. When the Democrats set new spending increase records in FY 2008 and 2009, they couldn't justify to continue on that unsustainable pace. It's like someone who eats a massive Thanksgiving dinner at 1 p.m., and then brags about how he's slowed his caloric intake for the rest of the evening. That is not something to brag about.

Let's look at some real numbers, based on who actually did what. The first six years of Bush budgets (the ones passed by Republican or split Congresses), spending increased a whopping 32%, an average increase per year of 6.15% (a max of 7.4% in FY 2001, dropping to 2.7% in FY 2007).

But over the next two years, with Democrats controlling both houses, spending increased 22%, with that whopping 15.2% increase in FY 2009. And yes, in the next three years of Obama the increase has only been about 7% combined, but we can't ignore that most of that 22% increase ($411B vs. $378B) was spending Bush didn't ask for and didn't approve, and Obama signed into law.

If we adjust at that point, we get that Bush's last two years (with a Democratic Congress) were an increase of 12%, not 22%; and Obama's first three years (including the extra $411B in FY 2009 that Bush didn't request, that was enacted by Obama) is up to an 18% increase.

It's just amazing how upside-down the world is to Nutting and Obama. Yes, if you pretend that the Republicans passed the budgets the Democrats passed, and that Bush signed the budget that Obama signed, you can then pretend that the Republicans increased spending a lot more than the Democrats have. But it won't reflect reality.

On a related note, how is that Democrats are slamming Mitt Romney's record of "job creation" in Massachusetts, but if Romney were a Democrat, they'd all be blaming Bush for that job record? And please don't pretend this isn't completely true. My own governor, Christine Gregoire, milked that line for years. She's still doing it. Heck, Obama's still doing it. So Gregoire's and Obama's job losses are Bush's fault, but Romney's job losses are Romney's fault?

The Democrats' 1st District Chair, Nicholas Carlson, is acting extremely bizarrely.

As the GOP 39th District Chair, I never would have told a candidate they needed to bow to me. A district chair is no one special, and candidates have no need to genuflect. Sure, it's wise to talk to them, but it's not a "snub" to not do so, except in the overinflated ego that perceives it.

And neither would I claim that a candidate needed to "earn" the right to run as a Republican to my satisfaction. Instead, I would merely expect that Republicans wouldn't vote for someone who hadn't done anything to help the party they were trying to represent, respecting the right of the candidate to run as he wishes, and the wisdom of the voters who will likely find that candidate wanting. I'd advise the candidate he would have little chance without name recognition or support of the party, especially against an incumbent, but I wouldn't tell him whether to run. That's his choice.

I especially love that Carlson says you can't support charter schools and be a Democrat. Tell that to President Obama, maybe?

But the best part is when he makes a "demand" that the fellow stop using the party label. He has no authority to make such a demand. The party does have that right to a limited extent, but Carlson isn't the party, and worse -- in this particular context -- the law is quite clear that the candidate has a right to say what his "party preference" is, which the courts have ruled does not amount to a de facto claim of affiliation with the party. Feel free to tell the world that the guy isn't a Democrat (we've told the world that certain candidates are not Republicans), but you have literally no right to make the demand that they can't say what their party preference is.

Your gripe, Carlson, is not with a candidate you dislike that calls himself a Democrat, but with Senator McAuliffe and other politicians in both our parties that have cheerleaded our downward slide toward the confusion that is now represented by the "Top Two" primary, leading to the various federal lawsuits both our parties have engaged in.

I use a Community Transit bus from Snohomish County to downtown Seattle most weekdays. I live about 4.5 miles from the bus stop, and as the weather's been improving and my bicycle's been recently tuned, I've thought about how I could manage riding my bike.

At the park-and-ride I use there's six bike lockers. They are a few feet tall and a couple wide and they fully enclose the bikes, with the doors secured by padlock. I thought this would be a nice place to put my bike, but with limited resources, I didn't think one would be available. I looked into it more, and my chances were decreased further: to get one, there's only a one-time deposit of $50, and you keep it as long as you like. I emailed Community Transit and got my name on a waiting list.

So a couple of weeks ago, I was thinking that I'd never seen anyone use the lockers that I could remember, and there's probably people who get the lockers but rarely use them, because there's no disincentive to holding onto it without using it. I thought that maybe they should charge a quarterly fee for use, just to encourage people to give up a locker they aren't using.

So last week, I got email that a locker opened up, and oh, by the way, they might start charging $5 a month just to make people more likely to not hold on to lockers they aren't using. The letter noted that if I wanted to not participate because of the extra fee, that would be fine; my response is that -- while of course I want that money -- it's the right thing to do, and I'm glad they are doing it.

It reminds me a little bit of an Obama anti-Romney ad I saw this morning bashing Mitt Romney because he tried to maximize profits, and fired workers. But ... maybe it was the right thing to do. Maximizing profits is good. Firing workers is often a good and necessary part of that. I was fired a couple of years ago, with a bunch of other guys who had been around more than 10 years, because the company thought I cost it too much money. Maybe they were right. I was never once angry at the company or the people who made the decision, though I was disappointed in it, because I understand that they thought it was in the company's best interests: not just the shareholders, but the other employees and customers, too.

I don't want to be fired (erm, "laid off") or pay extra fees, but I do want organizations to do economically right things, and I won't selfishly hold it against them when they do.


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I read a brief summary of the account of Romney's "disturbing" bullying incident. It didn't sound like anything worth mentioning to me. So I heard people talking about how terrible it was, so I went back and read the more complete account, thinking I must've missed something.

Apparently, I didn't.

Look, Mitt Romney apparently did something pretty nasty. But he was a young man at a prep school in the 60s. That's not to say everyone would do what he did: I was bullied, and stood up to people who bullied me and others. I hated bullying and I still do. But I also recognize the truth that young men will act this way, and there's nothing we can do about it. It's the responsibility of the bullied to stand up to it and deal with it, and it's the responsibiity of the bullies to grow out of it, and it's the responsibility of the adults to help both of them.

When I was in sixth or seventh grade, I made a conscious choice to no longer give a damn about people who disliked me, for whatever reason. It was as if a massive weight was lifted off my shoulders. I no longer allowed my emotions and view of self to be controlled by what others thought. Granted, not everyone can do this, and it was doubly easier for me: not only do I have a personality that allows me to easily do this, but I was physically larger than most of the bullies, which meant that while maybe I was teased or even occasionally attacked, it was far less for me than it was with smaller kids who were bullied. But the principle still holds: you have bootstraps; use them.

I've occasionally thought about kids who have bullied me and my friends in the past, and with one exception -- one kid who bullied everyone all the time, pretty much, and I stood up to him and got a sucker-punch bloody nose for it -- I can't see how I could possibly hold it against them today in any way, even thinking that it says anything negative about them as grown men. They were boys. That's what boys do. It doesn't mean anything now. Even for the one exception, I like to think he grew out of it, but he was on a pretty bad trajectory for a long time.

At the end of the day, with the kid Romney apparently attacked, it's just hair. If I found out my son did this, I probably would have given him a really terrible haircut with patches missing and made him go to school every day for a week with it, along with apologizing to the other kid, and loss of certain privileges for awhile. And if I found out my son was attacked like this, I'd simultaneously help him deal with it gracefully, while encouraging the school and other parents to take action. These are all learning experiences that happen with boys, and they're pretty well universal.

The only story this story tells me is that Mitt Romney was a young man, which I had already guessed.

WA: We're #37!

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In a much more realistic accounting of the quality of business opportunities in Washington State than the 7th best spot Forbes offers, ChiefExecutive.net named Washington the 37th best state for business.

In part, the discrepancy is likely due to Forbes not considering Washington's unique taxation system for business, and at least some underestimation of the negative impacts of regulation in the state, but that's not the whole story. There's a very clear difference in bias between the organizations where Forbes favors generally liberal, Democratic states much more highly than it does more conservative, Republican states (and ChiefExecutive.net, vice versa).

Whether this is an intentional bias on the part of one or both organizations, or bias in how the various criteria are chosen, or some other reason, the results are striking: Oregon, Washington, Massachusetts, New York, Maryland, and Minnesota are all more than 20 spots higher in Forbes than in CEO. And Indiana, Nevada, Florida, and South Carolina are more than 20 sports higher in CEO than in Forbes.

Mapping these results to E.C results or party control is left to the reader.

StateForbes RankCEO RankDifference
New York2249-27
North Dakota415-11
South Dakota1719-2
New Mexico3233-1
New Jersey4445-1
North Carolina330
New Hampshire27261
West Virginia43349
Rhode Island48399
South Carolina28721

Governor Gregoire told candidates for governor that "we cannot live up to our responsibilities [in education] without new revenue."

This is based largely on the idea that our state's constitution says, "It is the paramount duty of the state to make ample provision for the education of all children residing within its borders." So they think to uphold that responsibility, we need a billion more dollars.

The problem is that it is not just a duty of the state, but the paramount duty of the state. So if you need a billion dollars for education to uphold that responsibility, and you are spending a billion dollars on other things, then you take the money from those other things. That's what our constitution says.

It's always a lie for our state politicians to say we need more money for education. They are simply using education as a way to fund other projects, because they know the public is going to be in favor of education more than any other project. So if they lie and say education needs money, they are more likely to get that money.

Don't fall for it. Demand that education is funded first, as our constitution requires. If they want more revenue for other things, let them ask for it, honestly.

<pudge/*> (pronounced "PudgeGlob") is thousands of posts over many years by Pudge.

"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Politics category from May 2012.

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