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Re: “#PayMe


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Posted by Ledan Mini on 09/09/2018 at 6:06 AM

Re: “On Religious Discrimination

BJ continues with the dogmatic assertions: "The DABC has absolutely no impact on what you call 'responsible drinking,'" and "...prohibition, just like the war on drugs, had no impact on alcohol consumption." If there were any truth to this it would only lead one to think that the taxes remain economically insignificant or that all drinkers are full fledged alcoholics. But what we have seen recently with tobacco taxes is that if you gouge the smokers enough many will turn to vaping. And as for prohibition, a big reason for its repeal was the growing number of methanol deaths. Good numbers were impossible to come by but BJ would have us believe that death by poisoning deterred not a single soul from a little booze.

What Robinson and BJ (assuming they are different individuals) take as a given is that drinking is an entirely innocent activity (Jesus imbibed and so do I), and no one can challenge its innocence with any but religious motivation. They could as easily argue that pot remains illegal in Utah only because of LDS interference. Obviously the church has influence in these matters but this hardly has to do with theological concerns. Rather there is common sociological agreement that society pays a price for alcoholic consumption, which cost arises from the fact that many do not drink responsibly, so the state attempts to reimburse itself for some of that cost. If drinkers wish to cast blame on any they ought to direct the blame toward irresponsible drinkers, not the society or segments of society which must bear the expense of their behavior.

Prohibition says you can't drink legally. DABC says you can but you will pay through the nose. The innocent victim of your DUI may not be a Mormon. --AGF

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by agfosterjr on 06/29/2018 at 1:59 PM

Re: “On Religious Discrimination

Just remember, the government control of the liquor business does not attempt to curb amounts of liquor being consumed by Utah's residents. Utahns can buy as much liquor as they can afford, get as drunk as they wish, and cause mayhem and deaths just like drinkers can in any other state. The DABC has absolutely no impact on what you call "responsible drinking." It simply gouges Utah drinkers, thereby favoring all those who don't drink. Mormonism may not be the "state religion," but it has virtually the same effect. As to the influx of non-Mormons, most of them consume alcohol, so the ill-gotten profits of the DABC are likely to dramatically swell in coming years, thereby funneling even more money to the benefit of the LDS population while "taxing" the non-believers.

As for Idaho's state-run lottery, you've used the same rationale, stating that Idaho is in the gambling business because many people can't gamble responsibly. Please note that there are no restrictions on how much a person spends on the Idaho State Lottery. A person with modest means can spend their entire paycheck, leave their children without adequate food or housing, and go entirely broke using the state-run-and-regulated system. In no way, does it create any safety mechanisms to prevent "irresponsible gambling." So, once again the argument misses its mark.

And prohibition, just like the war on drugs, had no impact on alcohol consumption. It merely forced a clandestine "privatization" effort which was highly successful, increasing the power of organized crime, and making some people--including the Kennedys--insanely rich. During Prohibition, those who wanted to drink continued to drink.

And it goes to say that those who choose to use drugs will always be able to find them.

Now tell me about the glories of state run businesses!

Posted by BroncoJockey on 06/27/2018 at 3:10 PM

Re: “American Terrorist

Robinson reminds me of Chomsky: "the Republican party is the most dangerous organization in human history." He talks like a socialist propagandist. --AGF

2 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by agfosterjr on 06/27/2018 at 10:22 AM

Re: “Shooting the Watchdog

For the antidote, see "Pointman."

Posted by agfosterjr on 06/27/2018 at 10:16 AM

Re: “On Religious Discrimination

In his piece, "On Religious Discrimination" (see ), Michael S. Robinson Sr makes too many dogmatic assertions to treat in one sitting but we can tackle a few. Let's start with this one:

"Why is our government in the liquor business, when that is something legitimately left to private enterprise?"

Obviously Robinson takes for granted that Prohibition was an illegitimate endeavor, but the fact is, not all drinkers can drink responsibly. It seems Prohibition caused more problems than it solved and Utah's approach offered a compromise: state controlled sales of strong liquor. But analogous to Robinson's decree, we might say Idaho has no business running a state lottery; leave gambling to private enterprise as in Nevada. But the fact remains, not all can gamble responsibly. Some would even say a lottery is a tax on statistical incompetence. So half way between outlawed gambling and legal casinos Idaho has a lottery. How is that different from Utah's state liquor stores? Would it constitute a mingling of (an anti-gambling) church and state if Utah were to follow Idaho's example?

Michael Robinson combines the problem of separation of church and state in Utah with the liquor profits of the state monopoly to assert that with the "sin tax" non-Mormons are unfairly subsidizing the Mormon lifestyle-- especially unfairly since non-Mormons suffer the additional burden of paying for the education of large LDS families. Where to begin.

1) One might ask if Prohibition constituted a federal collusion of church and state.

2) One might wish to distinguish between direct ecclesiastical interference (e.g., where a church official hypothetically threatened an LDS legislator with excommunication), and democratic expression of religious sentiment at the voting booth.

3) One might compare the $100 million figure (which Robinson pulls out of the air) with the cost of police protection dedicated to enforcing DUI laws as well as court and jail expenses diverted to keep the roads safe from drunk drivers. (Not to mention hospital costs of those injured in DUI accidents--who is subsidizing who?)

The argument that even gentile teetotalers subsidize the schooling of large LDS families is an old one, and of course peculiar to Utah, but it has its problems as well:

1) The LDS birth rate is steadily declining, lagging the non-LDS rate by about 20 years, while out of state migration is increasing.

2) Non-LDS citizens constitute a growing fraction of the population. Some segments of this immigrant population have birthrates comparable to the LDS rate.

3) The complaint ignores the philosophy that in reality each citizen pays for his own education after one becomes a contributing tax payer. It supposes that old bachelors should never have to pay into the fund since they have no children to burden the state--his parents are to blame for his schooling expenses.

4) Robinson's penultimate conclusion:

"Its time to go back to the basics: 1) End the DABCs abuse of private enterprise and allow competition. 2) Allow Utahs non-Mormons to get what they want at non-discriminatory prices. 3) End the practice of forcing non-Mormons to pick up the tab for the state religion."

The "war on drugs" is certainly an attack on capitalism, but it harly constitutes federal collusion of church and state. --AGF

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by agfosterjr on 06/27/2018 at 9:40 AM

Re: “Mormons and Pot

To nit pick his use of quotation marks as a way as to not respond to his overall point is kind of silly and closed minded. Don't you think?

Fact of the matter is, he is right. There is no reason for Medical Marijuana to not already be legal given all the good it can do in ending suffering.

And let me take this one step further. In a state where smoking cigarettes and partaking of alcohol is legal, what is the hang up with recreational use of Marijuana? Why is this the rallying cry of those opposed to legalizing medical use? It strikes me as a very ignorant and uninformed stance to take.

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by David Hunt on 05/08/2018 at 11:14 AM

Re: “Mormons and Pot

When you use quotation marks, most readers assume that you are quoting something verbatim. And yet President Hinckley never called the Iraq War a "just war". He said some wars are justified, but all are horrific. When you can't get even the most basic facts right, it destroys your credibility for everything else you have to say.

12 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Dustin Cammack on 04/26/2018 at 2:11 PM

Re: “Dear Orrin

Credit where credit is due, pshaw! Credit is always a 2-way street. Pretty soft on the guy with front row seats to the demise of America and its political system. Pro Tip: Dollars and Party wins every time with the UT GOP....Challenge and Leadership are sucker bets!

3 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Snofl8k on 02/22/2018 at 4:22 PM

Re: “Plane Dogs

There is also the airline that has charged exorbitant fees for dogs to travel and compromised their safety by putting them with the luggage.

1 like, 1 dislike
Posted by Therappy Pal on 01/10/2018 at 12:57 PM

Re: “Not Home for the Holidays

Aspen I totally understand your loss as you know my mom and Travis death dates were within a day of each other yet years apart. I can only speak for myself, but I still miss her as if it was yesterday. At times I find myself sad at this time of year,then I recall how much my mom (Aunt Marilyn) loved Christmas and wouldn't want us to be sad and I'm sure Travis feels the same. I loved you article it will hut home with many of our this year as we've lost a few family members this. Thoughts and prayers with our. Love you all Loraine Hardy

Posted by Loraine Layton Hardy on 12/21/2017 at 5:41 PM

Re: “You Down With NPV?

Being a constitutional republic does not mean we should not and cannot guarantee the election of the presidential candidate with the most popular votes. The candidate with the most votes wins in every other election in the country.

Guaranteeing the election of the presidential candidate with the most popular votes and the majority of Electoral College votes (as the National Popular Vote bill would) would not make us a pure democracy.

Pure democracy is a form of government in which people vote on all policy initiatives directly.

Popular election of the chief executive does not determine whether a government is a republic or democracy.

The presidential election system, using the 48 state winner-take-all method or district winner method of awarding electoral votes used by 2 states, that we have today was not designed, anticipated, or favored by the Founding Fathers. It is the product of decades of change precipitated by the emergence of political parties and enactment by states of winner-take-all or district winner laws, not mentioned, much less endorsed, in the Constitution.

The Constitution does not encourage, discourage, require, or prohibit the use of any particular method for how to award a state's electoral votes

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by oldgulph on 10/04/2017 at 2:47 PM

Re: “You Down With NPV?

Western states don't have influence.

Because of state-by-state winner-take-all laws, not mentioned, much less endorsed, in the Constitution. . .

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker in 2015 was correct when he said
"The nation as a whole is not going to elect the next president,"
The presidential election will not be decided by all states, but rather just 12 of them.

Candidates have no reason to poll, visit, advertise, organize, campaign, or care about the voter concerns in the dozens of states where they are safely ahead or hopelessly behind.

With the end of the primaries, without the National Popular Vote bill in effect, the political relevance of 70% of all Americans was finished for the presidential election.

In the 2016 general election campaign

Over half (57%) of the campaign events were held in just 4 states (Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Ohio).

Virtually all (94%) of the campaign events were in just 12 states (containing only 30% of the country's population).

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by oldgulph on 10/04/2017 at 2:47 PM

Re: “Neckties

Rasmuson, a true loser. glomming onto a kid, a child, to try for some notoriety? full loser.

Posted by Robert Bryan on 08/20/2017 at 1:44 PM

Re: “Nazi News!

wow stan. i am shocked.

First, you go to great pains to avoid the pledge, the pledge that : Any person who uses acid bombs, aids urine, bricks, bats, feces or any other object to disrupt a lawfully permitted protest by U.S. citizens seeking redress of grievances through public assembly should be sent to prison as a dangerous criminal and civil rights violator. Go ahead Stan, you loser, say it, twice.

Second, you then wander mindlessly into a claim that it was 8 million jews, not even 6, another number which is a lie. Funny how Americans must now worship the 6 million number or face personal ruin by the zio forces. In case you didn't get the email, Auschwitz has lowered their claim from 3.2 million to 1.2 million, and even that number which includes gypsies, commies, homos. If ironic nazis want to protest that the number is not even 6 million there is no reason to use violence to shut them down. Your mind is dysfunctional.

Third, google/go daddy/(((cia controlled media))) is not going after and shutting down white nationalist sites. They went after once site, a comedy site, call The zio forces will tolerate zero dissent from the worship israheil dogma. use tor to find it on the dark web at: http://dstormer6em3i4km.onion guaranteed to produce laughs every time.

We know the that zio nazis are the real problem.

1 like, 1 dislike
Posted by Robert Bryan on 08/20/2017 at 1:42 PM

Re: “What Climate Change?

Yes, Stan was the advocate and you are the "counter-advocate" speaking in terms analogous to Kant's Thesis and Antithesis. I was simply using it in the generic sense that a lawyer or salesperson would only present one side of the argument. As a "friends of the court", both my brother (a psychologist) and I (as an economist) were sworn to testify, as best our expertise allowed, giving an unbiased assessment. My point in that regard is that, like Stan, you were giving only one side of the argument.

But again, that was not my main point. You clearly know a lot more than I about the climate issue and are an intelligent person. But please reread you initial comment and the way you dismissed in a derogatory way, Stan's point of view. You say you didn't mean to pick on Stan, but you did, whether you meant to or not. Look at your comment in terms of emotion and psychological content, not climate change. And note, even in your most recent comment, in denying you didn't mean to pick on him, you used the word "pontificate" a word that has both a negative connotation and denotation.

Ok, Ok, I admit pontificate is quite mild. I use it (and do it) occasionally myself. But in your original comment, you were somewhat more abusive. I am in agreement with your observation about the trash that fills the newspapers and internet. I sometimes comment on Barron articles and I am appalled at the mean-spiritedness and downright ignorance of some of the comments. I would add that social media seems to have greatly exacerbated that phenomena driving much of the discourse to some sort of "lowest common denominator". It is my opinion, that, as contributors, we should do our best to raise the level of the discussion. Your reasons did that, but your tone did not.

Now as for Stan. I know him well and he is quite capable of defending himself and does not need me to do that. He is "rock solid" emotionally and one smart guy. As an active volunteer and former Chairman of the Utah State Red Cross volunteer committee (of which I was a member), Stan has contributed to disaster, the Armed Forces, health, communications and most of all to the organization of the Red Cross and a number of other entities (I regard his best, but not only his area of expertise as organization). Yes he was too "off the cuff" on his climate change opinion and many of your criticisms are well taken if only they were made in a more respectful manner. In one of his recent articles, I too was critical of his optimism concerning the political process. But his vignettes are usually superb and thought provoking (in my opinion).

Perhaps its best to continue this conversation offline. I suspect it is getting tedious for any readers who are still following the thread. Over a cup of coffee or wine, I suspect we would have a number of tropics of interest on which we would probably also have disagreements. And I would certainly use some colorful words in private that are counterproductive to use on-liine. But you obviously have a useful knowledge base worth hearing, if you can refrain from restrain yourself (on-line, not privately) better than my former New York acquaintance, who now lives in a big White House in DC Hopefully, General Kelly will improve the situation, although I am not holding my breath.

David Horner

Posted by dhorner on 08/03/2017 at 4:10 PM

Re: “What Climate Change?

More precisely, Rosenzweig is an advocate--not of any plan of action, but of a belief system. I am a counter-advocate of his belief system, but an advocate of the one plan of action his belief logically calls for: nuclear power. Surely as an economist you are aware of the consensus among economists which essentially agrees with James Hansen's view: the Paris Accords are a farce. They can make no difference to the climate. Cap and Trade are merely a mechanism for the transfer of capital from rich to poor.

You are probably aware that solar and wind power are of specialized utility, and expensive, and that expense translates to energy efficiency: it takes more energy to build, ship, and install a windmill or solar array than it can ever produce. Likewise an electric car requires more energy for its manufacture than it can save--that's why it costs so much.

And it's not just economics; its the environment. One investigator concluded that solar power produces 300 times as much toxic waste per energy unit produced than nuclear power. So the superstition is not innocuous. We have a morbid cure for a hypochondriac's disease.

I hardly intended to pick on Rosenzweig; he is one of millions who consider it entirely appropriate to pontificate on the only subject which in their view requires no expertise whatever. He bases his story on anecdote, emails, and National Geographic. He begins with anecdote that suggests lack of ski snow is a new problem, never happened before. Such writing fills our newspapers and the internet. The counter-advocacy is nearly absent in print and buried in Google. I used to try to publish my view in the papers but gave up long ago. Your comment was the first evidence I have seen that I'm not entirely typing in the wind.

So I thank you for it. Cheers, --AGF

Posted by A G Foster on 08/03/2017 at 2:34 PM

Re: “What Climate Change?

Mr. Foster,

I wasn't as much addressing your points about climate change as much as the denigrating and dismissive tone that you displayed. In contrast to your points about climate change, which are well taken, I felt the tone of your response to Stan tended to inhibit rather than promote learning and productive discussion.

Three points:

I did not imply that you were wrong in the points you were making. You make many good ones. I only implied that humans do affect climate, even if we can not prove it statistically. I also disagree with you in your observation that "we cannot agree on the human impact", even if we can not measure its relative importance. We know, for example that our contributions to the oxygen, CO2 balance affects the atmosphere. There are a host of other impacts that we can agree on even if there is a legitimate debate as to how and whether we should address them. As an economist, I have on occasion spent considerable time studying the costs and benefits of both private and public responses to perceived problems and opportunities.

I also note, that, in contrast to your statement that I did "not address a single point in your comment" is in error. I agreed with your observation regarding the immense secular and cyclical non-human effects. And no, I don't think you invented your sources. And yes I am aware that there are many on the left that "overstate" their arguments and are just as disrespectful of the scientists who work to further our knowledge as there are on the right.

To summarize: Your points regarding climate change are well taken. But they had the perspective of an advocate and not a scientist. And scientists will give us the ongoing analysis and solutions, if warranted. Our responsibility as lay people is to discuss the issue with respect for our fellow citizens in a constructive way.

In contrast to your first comment to Stan, your response to me was respectful for the most part and I appreciate it.

David Horner
Mathews Capital
Salt Lake City

Posted by dhorner on 08/03/2017 at 12:14 PM

Re: “What Climate Change?

Just as a competent scientist insists on data and quantification, so a competent layman insists on specificity. But David Horner calls me the ideologue while refusing to address a single point of my comment, or at all delineating just how we should go about "dealing with the human impacts in a positive way."

We can't deal with "human impacts" if we can't agree on what they are. I dealt here primarily with the issue that Rosenzweig dealt with--sea level rise. I filled a great gap in your knowledge by quantifying it. While there are a few scientists (e.g., Axel-Morner) who dispute the figure of an inch per decade on the low side (Axel-Morner denies any measurable SLR), there are none who go beyond the satellite measured 3.4mm/year (a little over an inch per decade). The gloomy coastal picture Rosenzweig paints is sheer fantasy--no bones about it, and if Horner can't accept that simple fact we're wasting our time here. How can we address a fantasy?

And does Horner think I invented the quotations? Does he believe Oreskes' and Conway's nonsensical lies about a small cabal of oil-bought dissenters who overturned a scientific consensus like pied pipers? Has he even heard about the book (and movie) "Merchants of Doubt," let alone examined it? That work of libelous fiction has become the bible of climate propaganda, and rest assured, it is fiction, every page of it.

One of the specific points I mentioned was this: " What do the scaremongers say now? There never was a cold scare." Does Horner remember the cold scare? Is he even aware that alarmists deny it ever happened? Did he know that the most recent temperature reconstructions have largely deleted the cold spell out of the record? And I bring up this point mainly to illustrate the absurdity of Oreskes' and (NASA's) Conway's contention: that skepticism has its roots in Big Oil. Skepticism is older than the cold scare. It is born of a century old desire to warm the Arctic, and Scandinavia, and Russia; to permanently reverse the Little Ice Age; to prevent the "return of the deadly glaciers" (Callendar); to open the Arctic for summer shipping; to acquire a warm water sea base (USSR).

Skepticism toward global warming is a century old, and much of the current skepticism carries over from the cold scare of the 70s when the main concern was global cooling. And the alarmist literature blames Big Oil and Singer, Seitz and Nierenberg! I have made once small step to punch through the propaganda, for which Horner labels me an ideologue! Is reporting the true rate of sea level rise the art of the ideologue?

Now if we were to require constructive dialogue we might consider solutions to the supposed problem, and the one most agreed upon is that of nuclear energy. And here you find greater assent among the "skeptics" than among the alarmists. Uber-ideologue Oreskes called uber-ideologue James Hansen "a neo-denier" for advocating nuclear power as the premier solution to global warming, which goes to show at the very least that Oreskes is more worried about nuclear disaster than climate disaster. But what the ideologues are really after is the de-industrialization (=decline) of the West, and they are succeeding. --AGF

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by A G Foster on 08/03/2017 at 8:30 AM

Re: “What Climate Change?

I don't know A G Foster or his background, but he sounds much more like an ideologue than a scientist. His rhetoric drowns out the validity of his reasoning, some of which I agree with. His words, are designed to convince the uneducated with bombast rather than science.

My credentials are as follows. I am a social scientist, not a physical scientist. So like both Stan and Mr. Foster, I am not qualified to speak on the validity of climate change. But I do have a Ph. D. in Philosophy with a concentration of statistics and economics.

As an "expert" in statistics, I feel confident that the issue of climate change is subject to legitimate debate, just as are the issues of monetary policy (on which I am an expert). There are thoughtful experts on both sides of the issue. The main reason that the issue is unsettled is that, as Mr. Foster indicates, there are huge, significant, non-human-related phenomena that have, for billions of years, affected climate, resulting in both secular and cyclical changes. Thus it is very difficult to "tease out" the human impact. But that is not the same as concluding that it does not exist.

Having acknowledged the legitimacy of the debate, there is an agreed-upon body of knowledge about many human impacts on weather. We simply cannot separate the aforementioned non-human effects from the human effect with a degree of certainty that brings an end to the debate. However, that should not stop us from dealing with the human impacts in a positive way. Moreover as Stan suggests, corporations have a profit incentive to deal with such effects. Whether or not the observed change is human or non-human related, their incentive should be aligned in a way to improve our situation. This can only be accomplished if there is a partnership with government that represents the interest of the people (by the way, Stan, I don't think, as you suggest, that those who argue in favor of the conclusion that human-caused climate change is significant are all "left-leaning". There are many thoughtful conservatives that argue that humans have made a significant impact on climate).

Unfortunately, there is perhaps a bigger issue than climate change these days. The divisiveness exacerbated by emotionally-driven rhetoric, like that of Mr. Foster or those on the far right and left, has led us into a gridlock that prevents us from dealing effectively with important physical and social problems regardless of their cause.
Shame on you Mr. Foster. Let's work this out intelligently rather than denigrating those with whom you disagree.

David Horner
Mathews Capital
Salt Lake City

0 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by dhorner on 08/02/2017 at 1:33 PM

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